Beninese police disperse supporters, journalists as judge returns Igboho to custody

Beninese police disperse supporters, journalists as judge returns Igboho to custody
File: Sunday Igboho

Scores of Yoruba Nation supporters who trooped out in solidarity for Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, who is standing trial in a Court of Appeals in Cotonou, Benin Republic, were barred yesterday from observing his trial.

The Nation reported they were eventually driven away from the court premises by the police at about 7.30pm after waiting for 12 hours.

The stern security personnel, who came in two Hilux vans, insisted that everyone, including journalists, should vacate the scene.

Although no immediate reason was given for the action, WuzupNigeria gathered that the presiding judge ruled that Igboho should be returned to custody at about midnight.

Recall that Igboho's supporters became apprehensive when the trial, which was adjourned on Thursday, did not commence earlier in the day as expected.

The self-styled activist is believed to be facing an extradition hearing to determine whether he will be taken to Nigeria or be allowed to go.

Although Igboho was brought to the court as early as 7:00 am, he was kept in a special room where only his German wife, Ropo and his lawyers had access to.

WuzupNigeria earlier reported how his supporters besieged the court, waiting for the proceedings to begin, but the prolonged delay heightened their anxiety.

The anxious crowd included some traditional rulers, who became increasingly worried over where the pendulum of justice would swing in the extradition request brought against him by Nigeria.

But the trial did not start, leaving them frustrated.

Exhausted about 3pm, many of them were seen sleeping on the bare floor.

They refused to leave the court premises despite repeated entreaties from court and security personnel.

"He will be freed unfailingly today no matter how long the delay lasts," an Igboho supporter was heard saying

Some later began to exhibit unruly tendencies. Frustrated by the delay, some of them were venting their anger on anyone who took pictures or recorded videos of events in the court premises, including journalists who tried to feed their newsrooms with updates in the court.

There was a heavy presence of security personnel in the court.

Nobody volunteered information or was ready to entertain questions from local and international reporters who were on hand to cover the proceedings.

Igboho was arrested at the Cardinal Bernadin International Airport in Cotonou while he was trying to travel to Germany.

The Department of State Services (DSS) declared him wanted after invading his home on July 1.

DSS spokesman, Peter Afunnaya, said seven AK 47 rifles, pump-action guns and 5,000 rounds of ammunition and other weapons were recovered from the apartment.

The agency admitted that two of Igboho's men were killed in the process while a security agent was shot on the right hand and hospitalised.

Igboho later said the weapons were not his and that security operatives planted ammunition in his house in order to implicate him.

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