The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has expressed disappointment and profound regret over the announced extension of the incarceration of Yoruba nation agitator, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo Igboho, by six months.
In his reaction to the announced extension, the national publicity secretary of the organization, Comrade Jare Ajayi stated that extending the detention of anyone who had not been convicted of any offence is against the law of any country that claims to be guided by the rule of law.
Afenifere spokesman asserted that as at today, Sunday Igboho has spent about 204 days in Benin detention. This is much longer than it should be for a person who had not been convicted of any offence and a person who is not a criminal by any standard. The prolongation of his detention was a negation of the announcement on Saturday by the Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Pelumi Olajengbesi, that Igboho would be released soon.
Ajayi commended Mr. Yomi Alliyu SAN for his doggedness in pursuing Igboho’s case and urged him to continue. “Alliyu’s decision to resort to the ECOWAS Court to challenge the extension is quite welcomed. We are prayerful that the Court will reverse the decision by the Benin Court and set Igboho free soonest.”
Ajayi called on Benin Republic government to rescind this ruling by its court in order to redeem its receding image on its respect for the rule of law. He recalled a 2021 Report by The World Justice Project (WJP) which placed Benin at 91st position out of 139 countries where the rule of law is not being respected. Matter of fact, the country’s overall rule of law score decreased 2.3% in the 2021 Index as it fell three positions in global ranking. The score placed the country (Benin) at 11th position out of 33 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and 14th out of 35 among lower-middle income countries.
According to Afenifere, Benin deserves a better record. Its extension of Igboho’s detention would only worsen its image if not reversed. The pan Yoruba body urged Benin not to descend to the level of Nigeria which ranks 121st out 139. Meaning that Nigeria is worse on the scale.
Afenifere urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to loosen the grip it has on nation-state agitators like Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu as well as enhance its human rights record. It also urged the government to be more sincere in its fight against terrorism. By so doing, political tension in the country will reduce, socio-economic activities will be boosted with an improvement on the welfare of the people just as lives and properties in Nigeria would be more secure.