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General News of Monday, 6 September 2021


Tell Buhari to free Igboho’s aides - Lawyer to Ooni

Ooni chats with President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to the State House Ooni chats with President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to the State House

Pelumi Olajengbesi, lawyer to the detained aides of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, has urged the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to use his position as a respected monarch to ensure the release of the activist’s associates who are still in the custody of the Department of State Services despite a court order granting them bail.

The lawyer in letter on Monday urged the monarch, whom he described “as one of the more frequent and honoured guests of the Villa” to explore the opportunity to tell the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to free the Yoruba Nation agitators.

The letter followed a PUNCH interview wherein the Ooni said Yoruba Nation agitators want fairness and are concerned about the worsening security situation in the South-West zone.

Olajengbesi’s letter to the monarch was titled, ‘Continuous Unlawful Detention Of Two Of Igboho’s Aides By The State Security Service: A Call For Intervention’.

It partly read, “We are well advised of your strong socio-political campaign for the welfare and wellness of your people and your uncommon commitment to fair play, natural justice and equity. Your ascension to the throne was greeted with expressions of hope and gratitude owing to your steadfast leadership style and reliability as king, father and the protector of your people.

“All of this will now be called to question if you remain silent in a crucial time like this without demanding to know the whereabouts of a Yoruba child or daughter, given the fact that they are now being held unlawfully and unjustly.

“It is, therefore, in your capacity as King, Father and Protector that we make this deferential request in the hopes that you may kindly stand in the gap for your subjects who have gained their freedom on paper but continue to be incarcerated on a whim by the State Security Service.

“If protecting your subjects is one of the essential powers of your office, we do make bold most respectfully to state that this is an opportune time to give impetus to your role as the leader of your people. We therefore call on you to speak to President Muhammadu Buhari to let your unlawfully detained people go.”

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the DSS, last week, freed 10 of the 12 aides of Igboho after over 60 days in detention following their arrested since July 1.

The DSS had during a midnight invasion of Igboho’s Soka house in Ibadan, Oyo State, arrested 12 of the activist’s allies and whisked them away to Abuja, where they had been kept in detention.

The detainees had approached the court to seek their fundamental right to freedom.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on August 4, 2021, granted bail to the 12 detainees.

They had met their bail conditions, including the provision of 24 sureties, but the DSS lawyer, Idowu Awo, had kicked against the bail granted by Justice Egwuatu to four of them, claiming that they were heavily involved in the alleged offence of arms stockpiling and other criminal activities of their boss, Igboho.

After a long dilly-dally, the secret police, in compliance to a court order, first released eight of the 12 detainees on Monday, August 30, 2021, holding onto the remaining four.

Those earlier released are Abideen Shittu, Abdullateef Onaolapo, Ayobami Donald, Olakunle Oluwapelumi, Dikeola Ademola, Bamidele Sunday, Raji Kazeem, and Taiwo Tajudeen.

The additional two freed last Friday are Tajudeen rinloye and Uthman Adelabu, while Amudat Babatunde (female) and Jamiu Oyetunji are still in detention.

Three Senior Advocates of Nigeria – Femi Falana, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Ifedayo Adedipe – had said that the DSS was inviting anarchy and lawlessness into the country by not obeying the order for the release of the 12 detainees.

Igboho, wanted by the DSS for alleged arms trafficking, has been in detention in Cotonou, Benin Republic, since July 19, 2021 when he was arrested at an airport as he tried to board a Germany-bound flight.