Sunday Adeyemi, otherwise called Sunday Igboho, who is being tried in Benin Republic, was Monday tried behind closed doors as journalists and his supporters were shut out.
Igboho’s supporters, who had been in court as early as 7:30am on Monday anticipating his arrival were however disappointed as there was no sign of him. Many detainees were brought to court for hearing in minibuses, but none of those buses had Igboho in them.
His trial was scheduled for 10 am on Monday.
But a source within the courts, hinted that Igboho had been brought to court earlier than anyone thought to avoid the possibility of any drama or clash.
The source, a court staff, added that Igboho was at the “phase of law enforcement” in the court, and was currently indoors with the prosecutor in charge.
Idris Oladejo, Igboho’s cleric, also confirmed that his friend, whom he “had been fasting and praying for, is in court”.
A Beninese monarch, who came to court to support Igboho also sat outside the courtroom.
Police officers, Igboho’s supporters, other detainees and journalists were equally outside anticipating information from the prosecutor’s office.
However, around 4:30 p.m., security officials at the Benin Republic High Court in Cotonou were seen asking supporters of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Igboho, to leave the court premises.
According to sources, the hearing was no longer expected to take place in the courtroom due to the large turnout of people, who had besieged the court on Monday to witness the hearing.
As of the time of filing this report, the hearing was said to be taking place in one of the offices inside the High Court as the main courtroom that was scheduled to be used for the hearing was deserted.
Meanwhile, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in a release issued on Monday by Comrade Jare Ajayi, National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, called for the stoppage of harassment of those it described as freedom agitators and innocent citizens.
The Olubadan had announced the raising of a delegation to be at the court, where the Yoruba agitator was being tried in Cotonou.
On the propriety of Sunday Igboho trying to escape abroad, Afenifere maintained that there was nothing strange or wrong with this, adding that history is replete with conveyors of a new order having to seek refuge outside their immediate environment at least for a time.
“We recall that Moses had to be taken away from the prying eyes of Pharaoh and his agents in Egypt. Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) too had to leave his hometown, Mecca for Medina in order to escape persecution. Thus, there is nothing wrong in Igboho seeking a respite first to preserve his life and perhaps to re-strategize.”
Afenifere, however, accused the federal government of going after freedom agitators while neglecting those who were known to be behind terrorism in the country.
“By its conduct, government is giving people reasons to belief the allegation that it is pursuing a Fulanisation agenda. Harassment of freedom agitators and innocent citizens must stop forthwith” the release added.