Social media has been agog in the last few hours following reports of the arrest of a Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Benin Republic Police on Monday evening arrested Mr Igboho at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic, while trying to leave the country for Germany.
He was “disembarked from his plane, arrested by the Beninese police while he was trying to travel to Germany and then transferred to the Cotonou Criminal Brigade,” according to a Benin newspaper, Banouto.
It was learnt that under the agreements between the two countries, Mr Igboho’s extradition should be concluded without a hindrance.
Mr Igboho has led rallies in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, and Ogun states. He threatened to hold the rally in Lagos on July 3 but his home was invaded barely 72 hours to the planned date.
While some of his aides were arrested with various weapons, he escaped and had since been declared wanted.
He has in the past also called for the eviction of Fulanis in South-west states, an action that was condemned by federal and state authorities.
Although the Nigerian government is yet to speak about his arrest, reactions have started pouring in from different individuals.
Human rights activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, said there is no crime in asking for self-determination.
“#FreesundayIgboho: The arrest of Sunday Igboho in Cotonou by the Beninese authorities was orchestrated by tyrant Muhammadu Buhari.
“No crime asking for self-determination. Let all oppressed people UNITE. A government that pampers bandits and terrorists! #BuhariMustGo #RevolutionNow,” he wrote on Twitter.
The convener of a group called “Concerned Nigerians”, Deji Adeyanju, wrote on Twitter that the government is unable to curb insecurity but capable of arresting Mr Igboho.
“But they can’t arrest terrorists who kill people weekly and even shoot down our fighter jets. I urge you to stand with your own who has not committed any crime. Self-determination is not a crime. They are still standing with killer herdsmen who have killed over 20,000 Nigerians under Buhari and even asking that everyone should give them land and we budget billions for them,” Mr Adeyanju said.
An ex-governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, advised the federal government to handle the case of Mr Igboho with caution. He spoke during a press briefing at his Bodija, Ibadan residence.
“I want to appeal to the federal government to grant Igboho and (Nnamdi) Kanu amnesty just as some members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect were given amnesty. Igboho and Kanu are creations of the federal government. Why? Because whenever they arrested herdsmen who were killing their people, the federal government never acted. That was why those two people came up to defend their people.
“Boko Haram members that were arrested a year ago by the government have been released to the Borno State Government. The Federal Government created Sunday Igboho in the context of Igangan massacre.”
Mr Igboho used to be a political thug for Mr Ladoja during his tussle with the late Lamidi Adedibu in Oyo State.
In the same vein, Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of Yoruba social-cultural group, Afenifere, said President Muhammadu Buhari has declared war on Yoruba people following Mr Igboho’s arrest.
He told Peoples Gazette newspaper that “Yoruba worldwide should take to the streets to make sure that Sunday Igboho is not brought back to Nigeria and if they bring him back, the Yoruba should ensure that he is not badly tortured or worse. They have declared war on our people.”
A lawyer and rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, reacted to the development in a statement sent to our correspondent Tuesday evening.
He said Mr Buhari’s government paradoxically appears abysmally “weak and hopelessly helpless when it comes to fighting AK-47 wielding armed bandits, Boko Haram and other deadly insurgents, including ransom-taking kidnappers who are almost kidnapping the very heart and soul of Nigeria on a daily basis. The Nigerian Nation appears captured by non-state actors.”
“The same government that is suddenly effective in the case of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho have never been able to capture kidnappers, armed bandits and Boko haram that are daily ravaging us, turning Nigeria into sprawling field of human carnage. They take ransom. Innocent school children are paid for. Where is the same government when kidnappers are demanding that the parents of kidnapped children should now be feeding them in their kidnap dens?
But, it suddenly becomes effective and audacious when it comes to arresting and even ambushing and attacking in their very homes, self-determination activists and crusaders. I am not impressed with this at all.”
A Lagos State government official, Joe Igbokwe, mocked Mr Igboho, saying his arrest was an indication that “Juju” (charms) does not work.”
Mr Igbokwe is the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage and Water Resources. He shared a photograph of Mr Igboho wearing charms on his Facebook wall, noting that, “Juju” failed in the South-East and has also failed in the South-West.
“Juju no de work again ooo. It failed in Igbo land and it failed too in Yoruba land,” his post read.
A Twitter user, Uthman Tochukwu, wrote that: “I will continue to preach one Nigeria until I enter inside the grave. I can’t afford to see Nigeria break up. NO! Not even for 419 IPOB or miscreants led by one Sunday Igboho.”
A social commentator, Tijani Abdulkabeer, told PREMIUM TIMES that “although, when he (Sunday Igboho) started, it was making sense but due to some fault lines, he lost the battle and by then it was very clear that the purpose has been hijacked.
“Many supporters of this warlord keep justifying every of his move with the belief that he is doing all that to put the government on their toes. However, beneath all of these, there are still salient questions that are begging for answers.
“Well, we woke up to the call that he has been arrested. It didn’t come like a shocker to me because I was sure the government would do everything possible to ensure that he is ostracised. By this token, I expected him to have submitted himself to the government long before now but very unfortunate his arrested proved his cowardice.”
A journalist, Kunle Sani, said Mr Buhari has “finally destroyed Nigeria’s unity. It would take years of reconciliations to amend the divisions or treat all the wounds caused by this regime.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...