The Oke ogun Development Consultative Forum, ODCF, on Sunday called on both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Benin Republic, to respect the fundamental human rights of Sunday Adeyemo (a.k.a. Sunday Igboho), in the course of his being tried in the court of law.
The umbrella body for the people of Oke Ogun in Oyo State, in a statement jointly signed by its president, Dr. Olusegun Ajuwon, and Public Relations Officer, Comrade Jare Ajayi, said his mission was meant to put a stop to the iniquities being meted out to Yoruba people – of which he is a proud son.
The embattled activist is from Igboho in Oorelope local government area of Oke-Ogun.
“We are proud of his desire to see that farmers are no longer prevented from cultivating their farms and our women are no longer raped in the course of pursuing their businesses”, it stated.
It would be recalled that Adeyemo was the arrowhead of a movement tackling Fulani herders who were terrorizing farmers and rural dwellers particularly in Ibarapa area of Oyo State and his group later began to agitate for the creation of a Yoruba nation.
However in the wee hours of July 1, 2021, his house in Soka area of Ibadan was invaded by armed officials of the DSS resulting in the death of two people and arrest of 12 others who are now on trial in Abuja.
Adeyemo feeling that his life was unsafe, decided to sneak out of the country and was arrested in Cotonou while trying to board a flight to Germany.
He has been on trial since then with reports having it that Nigeria is making efforts to have him extradited so that he could be tried here.
The ODCF maintained that while it conceded that the government had a right, indeed the power, to try anybody thought to have contravened the law, “but in doing so, government should factor in the relevant sections of the law that says that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Not only that, the governments of Nigeria and Benin should remember the relevant sections of the African Charter and other international conventions to which they are signatories.”
Some of the documents being referred to include Article 4 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition which prescribes that a suspect cannot be extradited if the offence for which he is wanted is ‘political or for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his ethnic group or political opinion’.
Various provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is also a party, have similar provisions.
According to the group, part of what Igboho advocated was echoed penultimate week by Emir of Muri in Taraba State when he gave Fulani herders a 30-day ultimatum to vacate his area because of the harm they were doing to farmers and women in his domain.
“There is no difference between what Sunday Igboho was advocating and what Emir of Muri has done. Therefore, we believe that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander,” ODCF stated.
It stated further that the people of Oke Ogun were law abiding citizens with commitment to the laws of the land, saying “it is within these laws that we seek protection for ourselves and our people including Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho)”.