Speaking to journalists during an interactive session titled, “Sanctions on the loose: Chasing the gnat with a sledgehammer,” on Friday. Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on the government of the Republic of Benin to release Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, to continue his journey.
His words: “I refuse to believe that Igboho committed any offence except agitating against tyranny on his people. He peacefully demonstrated his position. I can’t consider that to be decided a criminal. Agitating for secession is not a criminal act as long as it’s done peacefully. You don’t have to criminalise that.
“What the government and the security did by raiding Igboho’s house in the middle of the night, killing two of his own people and claiming, without a warrant or anything, that they found weapons… who’s going to believe that cock and bull story?”
He also queried the government of Benin Republic on why they are keeping Igboho. He said: “Why are you keeping this victim? What offence did he commit against your state that you’re holding him, instead of letting him continue his journey? He has not committed any offence against any known law in this country.
“Declaring an independent state is not out of our constitution. Since he’s doing it peacefully and collectively within the law, you do not criminalise that action.”
On NBC’s query to Channels TV he said, “who decides media professionalism? It is one of outstanding semi-illiterate official queries
Meanwhile, lawyer to the 12 detained associates of the Yoruba Nation advocate, Pelumi Olajengbesi, has threatened to commence contempt charge against the Director General of the State Security Services (SSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi for the agency’s alleged failure to comply with an order of court for the release of his clients.
Speaking in Abuja on Friday, Olajengbesi said the legal team handling the case has decided to give the SSS authorities up till Monday to release the detainees, failing which the team would return to court to initiate the contempt proceedings.
Olajengbesi, who was particularly bitter about the condition of the only female among the detainees – Mrs. Amudat Babatunde (Lady K) – who, he said, was denied the opportunity to change her clothes since her arrest on July 1 and has also been subjected to other forms of dehumanising treatment.
He explained that his clients had last week met the conditions attached to the bail granted them by Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court, Abuja,following which the judge signed their release warrant on Monday.
The lawyer said: “It has become imperative and urgent to make this brief address in light of the vindictive and oppressive conduct of the State Security Service in the matter involving twelve detained associates of Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Igboho.
“In the wee hours of the 1st of July, 2021, a joint team of men from the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigerian Military, with neither lawful cause nor a warrant of arrest, broke into the Ibadan home of Yoruba nation activist, popularly known as Sunday Igboho and extra-judicially murdered two of his associates while rounding up, bounding and abducting twelve others to be incarcerated without cause in the dungeons of the SSS where they continue to languish without reprieve to this day.
“All twelve detainees, who were immediately subjected to degrading conditions of detention and torture, were denied access to their lawyers by the SSS up until the intervention of the court through an order recognising and re-emphasizing the detainees’ right to legal representation against whatever allegations against them.
“Regrettably and indeed unacceptably, while no charges, in full or tentatively, have been preferred against all twelve detainees, the SSS has failed and refused to honour an order of court, which granted bail to, and ordered the release of all twelve detainees upon the perfection of the terms of their bail, which have now been fully satisfied and duly communicated to the SSS.”
“The refusal of the SSS to honour a clear order of court, though habitual, is not only worrisome and unacceptable, but is an affront on the authority of the court and our entire judicial system.
“Such blatant disregard for, and contemptuous, spiteful and insolent disrespect of an Order of court 1f allowed to fester would undermine the very integrity of the court and breed even newer levels of rascality by state agents.”
“It would also amount to surrendering the freedom and rights of all twelve detainees to the whims and caprices of an agency that has gone rogue and thrives in wilful disobedience of court orders.
“In light of this, we are giving the SSS, particularly its Director-General, forty-eight (48) hours and not an hour more, within which to fully obey and comply with the release order of the court in favour of all twelve detained associates of Mr. Sunday Igboho or face contempt proceedings before a court of competent jurisdiction with the full weight and recompense of the court brought to bear against his insolence and disregard of court order.
“Take notice that we will not fail to exhaust all legal and social remedy available to the detainees in enforcing their rights in this matter and setting the tone against the SSS’ notorious disregard of due process and the rule of law,”Olajengbesi said.