Igboho’s extradition: Buratai pushes move, activist’s team meets Benin’s officials, fights process
Facts on Tuesday emerged about how Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), was instrumental to the arrest of the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
A top security source in the Benin Republic confided in The PUNCH that the former Chief of Army Staff wrote the government of the small West African country and insisted on the arrest and extradition of Igboho.
It was gathered that Buratai was at the forefront of the ongoing move to extradite the activist.
A few hours after Igboho’s arrest on Monday, his Beninese lawyers and other experts met with some Benin Republic government officials and called for the halting of his extradition.
Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff between July 2015 and January 2021, was deployed as Nigeria’s envoy in the Benin Republic in June 2021.
Before then, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had presented Buratai’s nomination to the Senate and the upper chamber of the National Assembly had confirmed the ex-COAS’ nomination despite public outcry of some crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Nigerian Army under Buratai’s leadership.
A top security source in Benin Republic, who spoke to one of our correspondents said that Buratai through the Nigerian Embassy in the small West African country sent a secret letter to the Benin government to be on the lookout for Igboho.
The PUNCH gathered that the letter was instrumental to the arrest of Igboho and his wife, Ropo, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the French-speaking country.
Recall that three weeks ago, the Department of State Services declared Igboho wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he had since denied.
Before then, the DSS on July 1, 2021 raided his house at Soka area of Ibadan, killing two of his aides and arresting 12 others.
Later that day, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, at a press briefing in Abuja, paraded Igboho’s associates and detained them thereafter, denying them access to their lawyers and not charging them to court.
The DSS also paraded some passports, AK-47 rifles, rounds of ammunition, African bulletproof vests, among others as exhibits. The secret police claimed that the items were recovered from Igboho’s house during the bloody raid.
The Federal Government subsequently placed the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs Service on alert to stop Igboho from leaving the country.
It was gathered that government beefed up security at Iwajowa, Saki West and Ibarapa local government areas of Oyo State which were adjoining areas to the Benin Republic.
Igboho, who rose to prominence in January 2021 after he issued an ultimatum to ‘killer herders’ in parts of Ibarapaland was said to have escaped the security apparatus in the areas to the Benin Republic where he was scheduled to catch a flight to Germany.
According to a top source familiar with the matter, the Nigerian government foresaw the possibility of Igboho flying to Europe through Benin Republic and planted a landmine for him there through Buratai.