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Buratai meets Benin Republic President

by OtownGist
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Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), has met with the President of the French-speaking West African nation, Patrice Talon.

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Buratai met with the Beninese President on Tuesday during the official presentation of his letter of credence.

Also, the Ambassador of Germany to Benin Republic, Michael Derus; as well as those of Ghana, Gabon, and Norway also presented their letters of credence to Talon.

Buratai’s meeting with the Beninese President occurred amid the planned extradition of wanted Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, who was arrested in Cotonou on July 19, 2021 while he tried to catch a flight to Germany.

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A member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, had said Buratai asked for the extradition of Igboho to the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja, Nigeria but Benin Republic disappointed him.

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Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff between July 2015 and January 2021, was deployed as Nigeria’s envoy in the Benin Republic in June 2021.

Before then, the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had presented Buratai’s nomination to the Senate and the upper chamber of the National Assembly had confirmed the ex-COAS’ nomination despite public outcry of some crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Nigerian Army under Buratai’s leadership.

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In a statement, the Beninese Government said Talon granted audience to each of the new ambassadors and discussed with them on the revitalisation and strengthening of bilateral cooperation between these different countries and Benin.

Talon was also said to have received a brief update on the state of cooperation between Benin, Nigeria and the other countries.

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“The President of the Republic also took the opportunity to invite the new Ambassadors to work more on consolidating and strengthening the warm relations that already exist between their countries and Benin,” the statement added.

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It was, however, not clear whether or not Buratai discussed Igboho’s extradition with the Beninese President.

Igboho, an arrowhead of the secessionist agitation for Yoruba nation, has been in detention since July 19, 2021 when he was arrested by Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou around 8pm.

Igboho was arrested after the Nigerian Government notified its West African neighbours – including Benin Republic – that he should be hunted.

He was arrested with his wife, Ropo, but the Cour De’appal De Cotonou ordered the release of the Germany-based wife of the activist, saying there were no allegations against her.

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The Beninese court, on Monday, however, ordered that Igboho be remanded in a prison facility in the country while further investigations were carried out on the case against the agitator.

Igboho is facing allegations bordering on trafficking in arms, inciting violence and causing disunity in Nigeria.

Some of the other offences said to have been committed by the activist include entering Benin Republic illegally as well as alleged planned intent to cause social unrest in Benin Republic.

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Though currently in detention, the court granted the 48-year-old agitator access to medical care while his lawyers continue to battle for his release and kick against his extradition to Nigeria.

Recall that Igboho fled Nigeria after the DSS declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to cause mayhem under the pretext of Yoruba nation but the activist denied the allegation.

Igboho had narrowly escaped the DSS raid on his Ibadan residence on July 1, 2021 around 1am when the secret police killed two of his associates and arrested about 12 of them.

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