Nigerian media report Yoruba separatist leader Sunday Adeyemo, known as Sunday Igboho, has been arrested in neighboring Benin as he was about to board a flight to Germany. He is the second Nigerian separatist leader this month to be arrested outside the country.
The arrest comes three weeks after Nigerian security operatives barged into Sunday Igboho’s home, picked up relatives and accomplices, and declared him wanted for stockpiling weapons.
Igboho, who has been campaigning for an independent Yoruba state in southwest Nigeria, went into hiding after the raid. He made his way to Benin, where security operatives arrested him at the Porto-Novo airport at 2 am on Monday morning.
He is expected to be extradited to Nigeria on Tuesday, according to local media sources.
Igboho rose to prominence in January after he issued a seven-day ultimatum to herders and pastoralists in southwest Oyo state to vacate the state.
Speaking with Sahara Reporters, an online news outlet based in the U.S., Igboho’s legal counsel Pelumi Olajengbesi confirmed his arrest and said, “We are making efforts to ensure that he is fine.”
His arrest highlights authorities’ crackdown on growing separatist movements in the West African nation.
Late last month, authorities arrested Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, or IPOB, and returned him to Nigeria. He now faces trials for offenses including treasonable felony.
The separatist movements have gained momentum in recent years, which observers attribute to the Nigerian government’s inability to deal with widespread insecurity.
Meanwhile, government critics are accusing authorities of being heavy-handed in cracking down on separatist movements but slow in addressing criminal activities like large-scale kidnappings for ransom.
Source: Voice of America