A former Nigerian President has begun diplomatic moves to save Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemi alias Igboho from being repatriated to Nigeria for trial over alleged treason and other criminal offences bordering on his agitation for the Yoruba to break away from Nigeria.
As a first step towards achieving his goal to get soft-landing for the Yoruba agitator, the former president on Sunday travelled to Cotonou and met with President Patrice Talon and pleaded with him to save the face of the Yoruba nation, Sunday Igboho, by resisting the entreaties by Nigeria to get him repatriated to face treason charges in Abuja.
The former Nigerian leader, according to top diplomatic sources, also asked his host to limit Igboho’s alleged offences to only immigrated-related issues and ignore the bid by Nigeria to get him tried for treason so as to save his life.
The unsolicited move by the former president to rescue Igboho from the diplomatic tango is to project him as the indisputable political leader and reduce the influence of some top politicians who claim to be in charge of his race.
The former leader, who sources say did not want to be seen to be interfering in the Igboho’s matter, carefully schemed his travel arrangements and meetings in order not to give out the real purpose of his mission.
For this reason, he first travelled to Zanzibar, an Island in Tanzania and then came back to Cotonou where he first met with the former President of the country, Nicephore Soglo, to sympathise with him over the death of his wife, Roseline, on July 25, 2021.
“After the ‘sympathy visit’ the former president went quietly to meet with President Patrice Talon and tabled Igboho’s matter with his host,” one of the diplomats familiar with the visit, said on Saturday.
“He also met with President Patrice Talon with the sole aim of seeking soft-landing for Sunday Igboho.
“During the short meeting, the former Nigerian leader pleased with his host to grant Igboho the status of an asylum usually given to political prisoners so as to prevent the Nigerian government for seeking his transfer home for treason trial over his secession bid.
In spite of the secretive nature of the former president’s trip, some leaders of his zone believe he is trying to be seen as a more relevant leader than a group recently raised to seek some reprieve for the separatist by embarking on the trip.
It will be recalled that the Yoruba separatist was arrested by Beninese security forces last month while trying to flee Nigeria to Germany with his wife.
However, the operatives of the Department of State Services raided his Ibadan home in the early hours of July 1, killing two people and arresting 12 of his supporters, who have now been granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja.