Unlawful Detention of Sunday Igboho
The Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has filed a One million US Dollars, ($1,000,000 U.S.), (Five hundred and sixty million Naira) equivalent as general damages, for each day he has been imprisoned in the Benin Republic.
The suit was filed before the Community Court of Justice, the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) in Abuja against the Republic of Benin.
He asked the court for an order awarding him General damages in an amount equivalent to $1,000,000 (U.S.) for the alleged violation of his human right by the Republic of Benin.
The unlawful detention of Sunday Igboho through his lawyer Mr Tosin Ojaomo sought a Declaration that Benin’s actions regarding his unlawful, arbitrary arrest and detention, violating his freedom of movement, his right to an unbiased trial within a reasonable time, violates his dignity as a human person.
He said that the order sought is Pursuant to Article 59 of Rules of Procedure, an Expedited Procedure and Hearing, regarding the imprisonment and release of Chief Adeyemo.
Ojaomo in the application dated February 10, 2022, sought An Order for the immediate and unconditional release of Chief Adeyemo, along with his Nigerian passport, pending litigation and determination on damages.
Igboho’s counsel said the application is brought pursuant to Article 3(4) of the 2005 Supplementary Protocol A/SP.1/01/05, by which “the Court has jurisdiction to determine (the) case of violation of human rights that occur in any Member State.”
“Article 11(1) of the 1991 Community Court of Justice Protocol (A/P.I/7/91) by which “cases may be brought before the Court by an application addressed to the Court Registry.”
The Revised Treaty of Economic Community of West African States (“ECOWAS Treaty”),
Articles 56(2) and 57.
“The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “Banjul Charter”), Articles 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12(1), 12(2), 12(3), and 17(2).
Article 3(2)(d)(iii) of the ECOWAS Treaty, Article 2(1) of the ECOWAS Protocol A/P.1/5/79 relating to Free Movement of Persons, Residence, and Establishment, upon which Chief Adeyemo sought to escape the persecution by passing through the neighbouring Republic of Benin (“Benin”), to take refuge in Germany.
Ojaomo, said that the applicant, Chief Adeyemo is a Nigerian citizen of ECOWAS, a husband, father, businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and ultimately, a lover of the Yoruba.
Due to arrest and ongoing detention by the officials of the Republic of Benin, Chief Adeyemo is currently a resident at a prison in Cotonou.
He also said that the defendant is the government of the Republic of Benin, a member state of ECOWAS and a signatory or state-party to the Banjul Charter and several laws cited herein.
Ojaomo in a 40-paragraph affidavit said “Benin violated Chief Adeyemo’s human rights including but not limited to personal liberty, freedom of movement, the presumption of innocence, due process, the dignity of the human person, expressed in the ECOWAS Treaty, Article 3(2)(d)(iii), Banjul Charter, Articles: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7(1), 12(1), 12(2), 12(3), and 17(2), Refugee Convention, Article 26, Universal.
Declaration of Human Rights, Articles: 3, 5, 9, 12, 13, and 14, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Articles: 5(2), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles: 9, 12, 14(1), 14(2), 14(3), and 14(3)(c).”
“The applicant, Chief Adeyemo is a Nigerian citizen of ECOWAS, a husband, father, businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and ultimately, a lover of the Yoruba. Inspired by insecurity, genocide, and crimes against humanity being perpetrated against the Yoruba People in Nigeria, Chief Sunday Adeyemo emerged as a political activist; he advocates for Self-Determination by the Yoruba pursuant to, Article 20(1) of the Banjul Charter, Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to ensure the security of the People via independence from Nigeria, seeing the government demonstrated that it cannot be trusted with this duty.
As Nigeria is an ECOWAS member, being a citizen of Nigeria makes Chief Adeyemo a “community citizen,” he said.
Ojaomo also stated that “Pursuant to Article 1(1)(a) of the ECOWAS protocol A/P3/5/83, the Respondent is a member state of the Economic Community of West African States.
Chief Adeyemo is a leading voice condemning the terrorism suffered by farmers and other rural dwellers in the Southwest region of Nigeria, where many of the victims who survived have identified their assailants as being of Fulani extraction.
Igboho’s counsel further stated: “During his advocacy, Chief Adeyemo signed a compelling petition to the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) under the Rome Statute.
He also stated that The ICC Submission alleged collusion by officials of the Nigerian government to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, perpetrated against the Yoruba People, to wrestle-away ancestral lands.
According to Ojaomo on Thursday, July 1, 2021, a battalion of Nigerian soldiers attacked Chief Adeyemo at his home in Soka, Ibadan, where several gunshots were fired at his home, which contained Chief Adeyemo, his family, friends, and associates.
“During the attack on Chief Adeyemo, which was executed without a search warrant or an arrest warrant, the soldiers committed murder, and arrested several of Chief Adeyemo’s visitors, including the popular media personality, Ms Oluwakemi Ifeoluwa AKA “Lady K.”
During the attack on Chief Adeyemo’s home, before the soldiers discovered Lady K’s location and arrested her, she started a live stream documenting the ordeal in real-time.
During the attack on Chief Adeyemo’s home; gunshots interrupt Lady K’s broadcast, as she alternated between Yoruba and English, but for Lady K’s live stream during the Nigerian government’s attack, the soldiers’ attack at Chief Adeyemo’s home would, as usual, have been credited to the typical “unknown.
“In the wake of the Nigerian soldiers’ attack on Chief Adeyemo, he went into hiding.
Ultimately, Chief Adeyemo became a political refugee who escaped Nigeria en route to Germany, by travelling through the neighbouring Benin Republic.
“On or about Monday, July 19, 2021, Chief Adeyemo’s journey was truncated when Benin officials arrested him and his wife at the Cadjehoun Airport in Cotonou; he has since been held prisoner in Benin, without any criminal charges or due process pending in Benin,” he said.
Ojaomo said, “While imprisoned in Benin, Chief Adeyemo’s lawyer filed a lawsuit on his behalf in Oyo State High Court, seeking damages against Nigeria’s attorney general, Abubakar Malami, the State Security Services (“SSS”), and Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”).
“On September 17, 2021, the Oyo State High Court ruled in affirmation of Chief Adeyemo’s right to political activity in pursuit of self-determination for the Yoruba People and ordered payment of #20,000,000,000 in damages to Chief Adeyemo in Suit No. M/435/2021.
“As of the filing of this application, Benin is holding Chief Adeyemo as a prisoner, without due process, in violation of the: ECOWAS Treaty, Article 3(2)(d)(iii), Banjul Charter, Articles: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7(1), 12(1), 12(2), 12(3), and 17(2), Refugee Convention, Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles: 3, 5, 9, 12, 13, and 14, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Articles: 5(2), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles: 9, 12, 14(1), 14(2), 14(3), and 14(3)(c).
“By arbitrarily arresting and keeping Chief Adeyemo in prison, Benin caused him to suffer general damages including but not limited to his reputation, and dignity of the human person.
“Benin is abusing its domestic judicial processes, feigning continuous court proceedings as an excuse to imprison and hold Chief Adeyemo, without legal basis, and without meaningful due process.
“Whereas Chief Adeyemo is a political activist, turned refugee when he fled persecution and attempted murder by the Nigerian government, and en route to Germany, lawfully entered Benin pursuant to Article 3(2)(d)(iii) of the ECOWAS Treaty, and Article 2(1) of the ECOWAS Protocol A/P.1/5/79 Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Residence, and Establishment, and Article 26 of the Refugee Convention.
“By virtue of the facts set forth in this Application: arresting Chief Adeyemo, seizing his passport, and holding him a prisoner, Benin continues to violate Chief Adeyemo’s fundamental human rights, as expressed in the following Treaties and Conventions, to which Benin is either a signatory or a state-party,” he said.