If Benin Republic is a stickler for justice as Sunday Adeyemo’s lawyers and supporters parrot, then the fake immigration document that allegedly gave him away en route to Germany is an offence Benin will punish.
And it means decades in jail.
A Beninese lawmaker in an interview told the BBC how the Yoruba jingoist declared wanted in Nigeria, and caught in Benin is trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea.
“If you procure a fake passport, you’ll be uncovered because you don’t have a national identity card. The details are linked,” Lawmaker Tolulase said.
Although there has been a back-and-forth on what passport Igboho used to book his flight in Benin. It was widely reported he got ratted out with his fake travel documents.
His lawyer Ibrahim David Salami , however, denied it.
“What was found on him were Nigerian and German passports.”
How Adeyemo, aka Igboho, got them would be questionable. He’s not a German. Only his wife Ropo is.
And, again, a “German residence permit, his international passport and those of many others” were among the items taken from his home, along with AK-47 rifles and charms, when the DSS raided it June 31, according to a July 1 press statement by DSS spokesperson Peter Afunaya.
The service thereafter announced to embassies his fugitive status, signaling the Interpol for a manhunt too.
It was also announced days to his arrest that he was trying to obtain a Nigerian passport, thus alerting the Nigerian immigration offices to watch out.
No doubt travel documents were his headache.
Even after it nabbed Igboho, Benin is detaining and charging him not for extradition hearing yet—but for immigration-related issues.
That lent more weight to the Igboho identity-fakery theory.
And the Beninese lawmaker said nobody mucks with his country’s immigration laws.
“The first thing you must have is a national identity card. Now, if you’re not a citizen, the only way you can get a passport is if you legally marry a Beninese,” he said.
“The card must have a family name. About three to five of your relatives must confirm to the government they know you and your early years.”
It is after they testify that the court will issue the card, he noted, which can then be used to apply for a passport.
“If such is doctored, the punishment is 21 years imprisonment,” he said.
‘It’s a serious offence. You can see it’s not easy.”
With the emphasis the lawmaker laid on it, Igboho is not the only one to lose his scalp for the offence if its allegation sticks.
“The Beninese government will carry out a detailed investigation that will expose everyone involved in his passport obtainment.”
While the Benin court has adjourned hearing till July 26, Nigeria has yet to make an extradition request, and the National Daily earlier reported how the request precedes any extradition request.