Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, recounts how Nigeria’s ambassador to the Benin Republic, Tukur Buratai, was allegedly told that the country follows rule of law when he asked about the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho being handed over to him after his arrest in Benin.
Falana claimed on Channels Television on Thursday, July 29 that Buratai made the request because he had not submitted his letter of credence to the President of Benin Republic. Also, he said he learned that there were plans to throw Igboho on a waiting plane for the return to Nigeria.
“In the case of Sunday Igboho, again despite my disagreement with him, I came out to say you cannot just throw him into a waiting plane as we were told, it was attempted. “You have to go to court. You have to make a request under international law, under the ECOWAS convention on extradition. “The government of Nigeria is requested to submit an extradition request to the government of Benin Republic and so when the plenipotentiary, General Yusuf Buratai (retired), who at that time had not submitted his letters of credence asked that Igboho be handed over to him. “He was told, ‘sorry, we operate the rule of law here’. That is why that matter is still in court.”
Despite his opposition to the campaign for the Balkanisation of Nigeria, Falana reiterated that the law guarantees the right to self-determination.
Moreover, the senior lawyer said the Federal Government owes it a duty to convince agitators of Nigeria’s corporate existence amid the agitations in some quarters that the nation should split.
Falana said it is not a criminal offence for some persons to demand independence and the current administration should respect human rights in accordance with Article 20 of the African Charter on Human Rights.
“Personally, I am strenuously opposed to the campaign for the balkanisation of Nigeria because I believe the masses of our people are oppressed by the ruling class and imperialism. “To that extent, I have a fundamental ideological disagreement with those who are calling for the breakup of the country along ethnic lines. “If a group of people decides to fight for the breakup of the country, the duty of the government is to try as much as possible to convince them to repose confidence in the corporate existence of Nigeria.”