Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

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Broken: Ex-COAS, Buratai Behind Igboho’s Arrest in Cotonou, Dictated His Inhuman Treatment In Cell

5 min read
It had been laid bare that Nigeria's Ambassador to the Benin Republic and Ex-COAS, Maj. Tukur Buratai, is the one behind the arrest of the embattled Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Igboho.
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It had been laid bare that Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Benin Republic and Ex-COAS, Maj. Tukur Buratai, is the one behind the arrest of the embattled Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Igboho.

A source from the top security office in Benin Republic revealed how the Ex-COAS passionately drove the development by writing the Benin government on the need for the immediate arrest of Chief Sunday Igboho. Igboho according to him has been troubling the peace in Nigeria hence, should be extradited.

Buratai said to be instrumental to the arrest was said to have met the doggedness of the Beninoise lawyers to Chief Sunday Igboho, who promptly addressed Benin government on reasons why it shouldn’t extradite the activist back to Nigeria.

Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff between July 2015 and January 2021, was reappointed as Nigeria’s envoy in the Benin Republic in June 2021.

This was despite the public outcry against the move to get him reappointed, as an envoy this time. Nigerians who saw him as less worthy of the position also attested to some of his wicked moves while serving as the COAS. All these weren’t enough to terminate the appointment or to even stop President Buhari from presenting him.

The top security source said Buratai wrote the Benin government via the West African country’s Embassy, calling for the look out for and eventual arrest of Sunday Igboho.

The letter was said to have facilitated the arrest and detainment of Chief Sunday Igboho, alongside his wife, Ropo at the Cadjehoun Airport, Cotonou. The city being the largest in the West African country.

The source said, “He (Igboho) was arrested in Cotonou on Monday night while he tried to travel. He was already at the airport with a passport. The immigration officers suspected the passport and so they stopped him. In the process, they discovered he was the one. He was able to escape in the course of discussion and we were grateful to God for that.

Igboho initially escapes, but lured back by travel agent, arrested by Interpol on return
“But the travel agent called back saying the matter had been resolved. But on going back, he was arrested. He was trying to travel to Germany when he was apprehended.

“A lot of people made effort to resolve the matter but we discovered that the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic (Tukur Buratai) was already aware and he said that he (Igboho) must be extradited.”

A security source present in Benin Republic also told The PUNCH that the International Criminal Police Organisation, at the behest of the Nigerian Government, arrested Igboho and his wife at the airport around 8pm on Monday.

The source said, “Interpol at the airport came and arrested him saying he was wanted in Nigeria. He was together with his wife.”

When asked whether the ex-COAS and current Nigerian envoy in Benin Republic was aware of the development, the source said, “Of course, he (Buratai) knew about the case. On July 7, 2021, the Nigerian Government through the Ambassador sent a secret letter to Nigerian Embassy, Nigerian Embassy sent a letter to Ministry of External Affairs in Benin Republic, External Affairs sent to Internal Affairs, Internal Affairs sent to police to arrest Sunday Igboho.”

The source added said Igboho and his wife had been detained in “Benin Republic Criminal Police cell”, adding that “Buratai should have gone to the police station because he was the one that told them to arrest him.”

A security source present in Benin Republic also revealed to The PUNCH that the International Criminal Police Organisation, on the order of the Nigerian Government, arrested Igboho and his wife at the airport around 8pm on Monday.

The source said, “Interpol at the airport came and arrested him saying he was wanted in Nigeria. He was together with his wife.”

When asked whether the ex-COAS and current Nigerian envoy in Benin Republic was aware of the development, the source said, “Of course, he (Buratai) knew about the case. On July 7, 2021, the Nigerian Government through the Ambassador sent a secret letter to Nigerian Embassy, Nigerian Embassy sent a letter to Ministry of External Affairs in Benin Republic, External Affairs sent to Internal Affairs, Internal Affairs sent to police to arrest Sunday Igboho.”

The source added said Igboho and his wife had been detained in “Benin Republic Criminal Police cell”, adding that “Buratai should have gone to the police station because he was the one that told them to arrest him.”

The source said though the German Embassy was intervening in the matter because Igboho’s wife is a German citizen, the Nigerian Government could have its way and extradite Igboho today (Wednesday).

“I was told they are coming tomorrow. My prayer is that he should remain in Cotonou or be allowed to go to Germany because I don’t know what would happen to him in Abuja,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the activist’s lawyers have reached out to the Benin Republic government to halt his extradition.

Speaking on what resonated into Igboho’s arrest and moves by the FG to repatriate him to Nigeria, Pelumi Olajengbesi explained that the legal team holding brief for the activist had said they would do all that was necessary to prevent their client’s extradition.

He said , “The lawyers we engaged in Benin have met with some officials of the country to prevent the extradition.

“Igboho’s lawyers in Benin have already reached out to senior officials in Benin to ensure that he is not brought back to Nigeria. They (legal team) have assured us that they are doing all that is necessary to keep him in Benin.

“The Federal Government or Benin Republic won’t be able to circumvent the law to bring him to Nigeria. He is currently a prisoner of conscience in Benin Republic and the entire world is watching how the Benin government would manage the matter.”

Olajengbesi stated that the Federal Government would not be allowed to give Igboho “the Nnamdi Kanu treatment.

“When Nnamdi Kanu was arrested, nobody was aware and the Federal Government has refused to admit that he was arrested in Kenya. Since we have been informed of Igboho’s arrest, there have been a lot of legal interventions that the law is followed.

“The lawyers we engaged in Benin are especially discussing with the Benin Republic government. We are very confident that they won’t be able to repatriate him.”

Security sources said the Federal Government would go to any length, including offering juicy concessions to the Benin Republic to get them to release Igboho to Nigerian security operatives.

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