Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), has been fingered as the brain behind the arrest of the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
It reported that Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Igboho alongside his wife, Mrs Ropo Adeyemo, was arrested at the Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport on Monday night while attempting to flee to Germany.
Igboho was arrested by the security forces in Benin Republic about three weeks after the Department of State Services declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he has since denied.
Recall that Nigeria’s federal government had placed Igboho on the stop-list in order to facilitate his arrest and directed the security agencies to apprehend him when found.
In the security circle, a person whose name is on the stop-list is denied all constitutional rights and privileges a citizen is entitled to.
The Federal Government’s directive against Igboho was contained in a letter by the Nigeria Immigration Service dated July 9, 2021, addressed to the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the DG, National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The letter was signed by Assistant Comptroller General of Immigration, Investigation and Compliance, A.B. Baba.
A top security source in the Benin Republic told The PUNCH that Buratai wrote the government of the small West African country and insisted on the arrest and extradition of Igboho.
Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff between July 2015 and January 2021, was deployed as Nigeria’s envoy in the Benin Republic in June 2021.
The source revealed that the former Army chief is behind ongoing moves to extradite the activist.
A top security source said Buratai through the Nigerian Embassy in the small West African country sent a secret letter to the Benin government to be on the lookout for Igboho.
The letter, it was gathered, was instrumental to the arrest of Igboho and his wife, Ropo, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the French-speaking 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.
“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.”
“Interpol at the airport came and arrested him saying he was wanted in Nigeria. He was together with his wife,” another source added.
Asked whether Buratai 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.”