Igboho’s extradition from Benin Republic will be difficult – Falana


Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana (SAN), on Thursday said it would be difficult for the Federal Government to extradite the Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, from the Benin Republic.

Falana, who disclosed this in a statement, said the request by Nigeria to extradite the activist from the country’s next-door neighbour must be supported by a statement of offences.

Igboho was declared wanted by the Department of State Services (DSS) following the raid on his Ibadan home last month before he was arrested alongside his wife in Cotonou on Monday.

The lawyer said: “Contrary to speculations in the media, it is submitted that Igboho cannot be expelled from Benin and deported to Nigeria on the basis of his arrest by Interpol without due process as prescribed by Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which provides that ‘a non-national legally admitted in a territory of a State Party to the present Charter, may only be expelled from it by virtue of a decision taken in accordance with the law.

“Thus, the Federal Government cannot bring back Igboho to the country without first making a request for his extradition and prosecution in Nigeria pursuant to the provisions of the ECOWAS Convention A/P.1/8/94 on Extradition, which is applicable in the 15 member states of the ECOWAS.

“It is pertinent to note that the 1994 ECOWAS Convention has superseded the 1984 Extradition Treaty between Nigeria, Togo, Benin, and Ghana pursuant to Article 32 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition.

“Accordingly, upon the receipt of a request for the extradition of Igboho, the Government of Benin Republic will be under a legal obligation to commence extradition proceedings in one of its domestic courts. It is pertinent to point out that by virtue of Article 28 (2) of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition, the procedure with regard to extradition and provisional arrest are governed solely by the law of the requested State, i.e. the Benin Republic.”

“Apart from providing for a speedy extradition procedure, the government of Benin Republic shall ensure that Igboho, whose extradition is requested, has the right to be heard by a judicial authority and to be assisted by the lawyer of his own choice.

“Nigeria is specifically requested by Article 4 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition to convince the Court in Cotonou that the offence in respect of which Igboho is wanted is not 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, apply as well. As noted, if the person is lawfully within the territory of the rendering State, extradition requires due process.”

However, the Beninese Cour D’Appel, Cotonou, on Thursday ordered the release of Ropo, the wife of self-professed Yoruba freedom fighter as a ruling is expected on his extradition to Nigeria on Friday.


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