Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho’s arrest and detention in Benin Republic has taken a fresh dimension.
Department of State Services (DSS) told an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan that Igboho is currently undergoing the process of extradition to Nigeria.
Igboho, whose Ibadan home was raided on July 1st, 2021, by DSS operatives, had escaped to Benin Republic but was arrested by the operatives of the Brigade Criminelle on July 19, 2021.
Igboho’s counsel, Yomi Alliyu, SAN, filed a N20.5 billion suit against the DSS on Igboho’s behalf at the High Court in Ibadan.
In a judgment delivered on September 28, 2021, by Justice A.L. Akintola, the court had ordered DSS to pay Igboho the sum of N20.5 billion naira as exemplary damages.
The DSS, in a 16 paragraph affidavit, in support of Motion on Notice, to stay the execution of the judgment of the court in suit No/M/435/2021 and an injunction pending the determination of the pending appeal sworn to, on behalf of the DSS by one of its operatives, Johnson Oluwole, and filed before the court on Monday, November 22, 2021 said;
“That it is a fact that the applicant Chief Sunday Igboho has been declared a fugitive by the Nigeria Police Force sometime in the month of June 2021.”
“That it is a fact that the applicant was arrested on July 19, 2021, and he is currently in the custody of the Beninese security agents, undergoing extradition procedure to come back to Nigeria.”
“That it is a fact that one of the reliefs granted by the court is that the respondents should pay the plaintiff the sum of N20bilion.”
“That it is a known fact that statistics have shown that the economy of the country is in a dire situation and is in the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“That it is a fact that withdrawing N20billion from the country’s account will adversely affect the smooth running of the country.”
“That it is a fact that the applicant is under investigation by the security agents for reasonable acts that is inimical to the corporate existence of the country.”
“That it is a fact that until the applicant is extradited charged and either convicted or acquitted by a court of law, the payment of the sum of N20billion might facilitate the allegations labelled against the applicant.”
“That it is a fact that until the applicant is extradited to the county the enforcement of the judgment especially the N20billon, will render a situation of helplessness on a positive judgment of the court of appeal.”
“At the resumed hearing of the matter, Igboho’s counsel, Yomi Alliyu, SAN, filed a preliminary objection and attached a sworn affidavit stating that it amounts to contempt of court to detain Igboho anywhere in the world at the instance of Nigeria after an order of Court that he should neither be arrested, detained or harassed by the Respondents.”
Alliyu said that the budget of Nigeria runs into trillions whilst the National Security Adviser, NSA, gets over N136 billion annually; hence paying N20.5billion, can in no way affect NSA Office or the Federal Government.
He also told the court that the Respondents have not paid the N20.5billion cost awarded, adding that all these constitute contempt of court.
In his response, counsel to DSS, P. O. Fabiyi, on sighting the preliminary objection said he came to withdraw their motion because the 1st Respondent has taken over the prosecution of the matter. But the court reminded him that the Attorney-General of the Federation was always in the matter.
Alliyu also filed an application for Garnishee Nisi against the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to pay N20.5billion to the Applicant out of Federal Government monies with CBN.
Consequently, Justice Akintola adjourned the matter for the CBN to come on January 12, 2022.