ECOWAS Court orders Benin to pay Igboho 20 million CFA over unlawful detention

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Sunday Igboho
Sunday Igboho

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), sitting in Abuja, has ordered the government of the Republic of Benin to pay Yoruba nation activist Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, a sum of 20 million CFA within three months for unlawful detention and violation of his fundamental human rights.

The court, on Tuesday, declared that the government of the Republic of Benin must ensure that the money is paid to Adeyemo within a space of three months, starting from the day the judgment to that effect is delivered.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justices Gberi-Bé Ouattara, Sengu M. Koroma, and Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro GONÇALVES, in matter marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/15/22 Chief Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho) vs. Republic of Benin, the court also ordered the Francophone country to comply with its order to pay 20 million CFA to Adeyemo within three months and also report back to the court with the evidence of payment.

Counsel for the applicant (Adeyemo) include Tosin Ojaomo, Aderemilekun Omojola Esq., Dr. Janet Fashakin Esq., and Irene Aclombessi, who represented the Republic of Benin.

The judgment followed the application brought before the court by Adeyemo against the defendant (Benin Republic), challenging his arrest and detention in the French-speaking country on July 21, 2021.

The application was filed before the ECOWAS Court in Abuja, on February 10, 2022.

According to the court documents obtained by Vanguard, “Orders sought wherefore Chief Adeyemo prays for the following from this Honourable Court: 1 “Pursuant to Article 59 of Rules of Procedure, an expedited procedure and hearing regarding the imprisonment and release of Chief Adeyemo;

“…2)An Order for the immediate and unconditional release of Chief Adeyemo, along with his Nigerian passport, pending litigation and determination of damages, and (3) Such orders as this honourable court may deem fit.”

Recall that on July 20, 2021, Igboho was arrested alongside his wife, Ropo, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and detained at the request of the Nigerian government.

The Yoruba nation agitator had fled Nigeria after a combined team of the Nigeria Army and the Department of State Services (DSS) raided his residence, located around the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State’s capital, on July 1, 2021.

Igboho had planned a “Yoruba nation rally” in Lagos two days before the raid. The raid led to the deaths of two people, while 12 of his aides were arrested.

The DSS had alleged that Igboho was stockpiling weapons and subsequently declared him wanted.

Attempts by the Nigerian government to repatriate him to Nigeria after his arrest were unsuccessful.

He was recently released from protective custody in Cotonou, having fulfilled all the conditions attached to his bail after his arraignment in court more than a year ago.

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