The Yoruba Global Alliance (YGA), an alliance of eminent individuals of Yoruba origin across the globe, has demanded the immediate release of Yoruba nation agitator, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is being detained in Benin Republic on the request of Nigeria’s federal government.
The group which made the demand in a statement signed by its president, Dr Amos Arogundade Akingba and Chairman of Council, Chief Tola Adeniyi on Thursday, noted that the continued incarceration of Mr. Igboho is unjustifiable and has become an embarrassment to the nation.
YGA called on governors of the Southwest geopolitical zone to lead a delegation to Benin Republic with a view to facilitating Igboho’s release, while calling on the generality of Yoruba people to remember that the activist is being targeted for defending them against attackers.
“The continued unjustifiable incarceration of Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho by the Benin Republic authorities, obviously with the connivance of the Nigerian authorities, has become a huge embarrassment not only to those who padlocked him but also to all people of conscience all over the world,” the statement said.
The group emphasized that Igboho is never a criminal but an activist whose rose in defense of his people against the nefarious activities of terrorists tormenting the people of his constituency.
“Chief Sunday Adeyemo is a successful Nigerian businessman and philanthropist. He got drawn into activism in response to the nefarious activities of terrorists who were tormenting his ancestral community. He also felt concerned about the second-class citizen position his Yoruba people were reduced to in their land and thought he could do something to redress the humiliating situation especially when his people ran to him for help. That was the genesis of Igboho’s fray into populism and the iron-fist response of those who believed Nigeria was their property to bedraggle and plunder,” the statement continued.
“Chief Adeyemo, accompanied by unprecedented mammoth crowds of supporters, admirers and the ordinary people went round the nooks and crannies of Yoruba kingdoms in peaceful processions. This must have provoked the displeasure of the powers that be which in Gestapo style brutishly invaded his residence in the deadness of night to kill him and wipe out the entire families resident thereat. It was a miracle Igboho survived the onslaught. Two unarmed people were murdered while all the buildings and vehicular properties and other valuable items were destroyed beyond repair.
“About 17 days after the carnage of July 1, Igboho, in keeping with the UN charter flee the country that was after his life and was about to escape to Germany when Nigerian authorities suspected to be led by General Buratai recently planted in Benin, ambushed him in the neighbouring Republic.
“Chief Sunday Adeyemo has been held in unholy custody ever since. The prisoner of conscience wallows in captivity and all legal and diplomatic efforts to get the Unitary government in Nigeria off his back have proved unsuccessful.
“It is now very clear that the reason Igboho is being maltreated is political and solution to the quagmire can only be found in politics. No amount of legal representations can get Igboho off the hook, especially in countries reputed for their disregard for law. In fact the easiest way for a lawless country to punish its citizens and deny them their fundamental rights is deployment of instrument of law! After all judges are appointed by government and they remain in office at the pleasure of the government of the day! We hate to say ‘who pays the piper dictates the tune’…a notorious cliché.
“Colonel Sambo Dasuki, a former national Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan was arrested December 1, 2015, barely 6 months after Buhari became President and was not released until July 14, 2019, two months into Buhari’s second term. There exist several examples where governments use delay tactics and many illegal excuses to keep their prisoners in prison.
“It is our considered view that Chief Sunday Adeyemo did not commit any offence. If he asked people of his community and the entire Yoruba race to defend themselves to ward off rampaging terrorists, several other leaders including state governors have issued similar statements. Adeyemo did not kill anybody. He did not wage war against the government. He merely exercised his fundamental freedom of speech, clearly entrenched in the UN Charter. And whatever statements he made were on behalf of his people. Only those who feared that his activities might disturb their political ambitions or may rob them of their favours from government would wish Igboho incarcerated.
“Chief Sunday Adeyemo is a Prisoner of Conscience. He came out to defend the rights and welfare of his Yoruba nation. He certainly does not deserve to feel that he is abandoned and those who, out of fear or selfish interest are keeping quiet should come out bold, and demand Igboho’s release regardless of the trade-off hidden between the governments of Benin and Nigeria.
“We call on Yoruba leaders and Yoruba elders to summon up courage and deploy all the political machineries at their disposal to get Igboho out of prison to reunite with his family. Our traditional rulers especially the Oonirisa, the Alaafin, Orisa-Ijebu the Awujale, the Owa Obokun Adimula, the Olubadan, the Alake, the Deji, the Ewi, the Osemawe, the Soun, the Akarigbo, the Olofa, Oba Jebba, the Obaro Kabba, the Oba of Benin, the Olu of Warri, the Alaketu and other Obas, not listed in any particular order, should call or visit President Buhari and appeal to his conscience to release your son to you.
“All the governors of the Yoruba speaking states should without further delay hold an emergency meeting and march to Abuja and Cotonou to plead for Igboho’s release. The same appeal goes to our leaders in the Chambers of Commerce throughout Yorubaland along with the Yoruba Intelligentsia to reach out to Buhari and his inner caucus to get Adeyemo out.
“Yoruba Obas should not forget that the relative peace in their kingdoms today is due in part to Igboho’s Awareness Campaigns and but for him, may be today we would be talking of Sultan of Ife and Emir of Ijebuland!”