No fewer than 11 lawyers are battling to secure the bail of the Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, who has been transferred to a new detention facility in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
After Monday’s hearing, Igboho lawyers said the activist’s trial had taken a new twist, noting that new charges had been filed against him.
His lead counsel, Ibrahim Salami, listed the charges against him as illegal migration, dubious connivance with immigration officers and an attempt to cause civil unrest.
Salami said Igboho was “deeply pained” when the judge ordered that he should be returned to the cell after the case was adjourned.
He confirmed in an interview that lawyers would file his bail application “shortly.”
He clarified that the next date for hearing would be fixed after the lawyers had filed the bail application, adding that Igboho’s trial might begin afresh with the new charges.
Salami, a professor of Law, stated, “We are now nine lawyers on this case in Benin Republic, among whom only three of us can speak Yoruba. There is no adjournment date. There are now new charges.
“The lawyers will now go and apply for his bail and get a date for the hearing. We will now defend him against the fresh charges. Also, there is no day for judgement on the old charges.”
Earlier, a source in the Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua, told The PUNCH that two more lawyers would join Igboho’s legal team, stating, “That will make them 11. The two lawyers are being sponsored by Yoruba in the Diaspora.”
Reacting to the new charges, Salami said, “We were first surprised, because it was like magic. We went to court for a reason and we were confronted with fresh charges after sailing through two stages on the initial allegations.
“It’s surprising that was done. Igboho only passed through Benin Republic, while heading for Germany. He didn’t spend up to a day in Benin. We do not think that is rational. One of the fresh charges against him is a criminal case. It is a big offence. It will require a senior judge to adjudicate. It is a serious crime here in Benin Republic.”
Igboho severely injured after DSS raided his house – Counsel
Salami revealed that Igboho suffered “severe injuries” during a raid conducted on his Soka, Ibadan, Oyo State house on Thursday, July 1, 2021, by the Department of State Services.
During the raid, the DSS arrested 13 of his associates, who are currently undergoing trial, killed two and said Igboho escaped.
Salami stated, “I urge his family and supporters to be patient and prayerful. They should support him with prayers. When they attacked his house in Nigeria, he jumped from the top of a building. His ribs were hurt. He was severely injured.
“In fact, he could not stand before the judge. He sat to address the judge. He needs freedom for medical attention. Those of us that are his lawyers are making a stringent effort.”
Nigeria yet to send lawyers, extradition charges
Meanwhile, more facts emerged on Tuesday that the Federal Government had yet to send any lawyer or extradition charges against Igboho to Benin Republic.
According to the Benin-based counsel, no lawyer represented Nigeria in the proceedings that had been held so far.
Salami said, “Between God and man, Nigeria has not sent anyone. No one represented Nigeria. No representative requested that Sunday should be charged. We also did not see any correspondence or request by Nigeria that he should be extradited.
“But we are surprised that a case that was initially linked to Nigeria has now become a Benin case. No judgement has been given. He has only been remanded for further probe over his alleged infractions in Benin.
“When we realised that Nigeria did not ask for his extradition, we worked to save him from being detained.
“The court did not give any ultimatum to Nigeria to file extradition charges. Nothing like that came up. Our law does not permit giving any 20-day ultimatum