The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has ruled that the detention of Nigerian secessionist leader Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, by the government of Benin Republic violated his fundamental rights.
The court declared that Igboho’s right to liberty and security and his right to freedom of movement were violated. It awarded him 20,000,000 (twenty million) CFA francs (approximately N26.3 million) in reparations for the moral damages suffered due to the violations.
Igboho was arrested alongside his wife, Ropo, in July 2021 in Cotonou, Benin Republic, at the request of the then-Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari. This occurred two days before Igboho had planned a “Yoruba nation rally” in Lagos. A combined team of the Nigerian Army and personnel from the Department of State Services raided his residence in Ibadan, Oyo State, killing some of his associates and arresting others.
While the court served the application on the Republic of Benin, it did not receive a response or representation in court during the proceedings. The court ruled that “the detention of the Applicant constitutes a violation of Article 12 of the African Charter.” It further noted that “the Applicant was arbitrarily detained and his passport was seized by the Respondent’s agents.”