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Igboho to face two-stage trial in Benin Republic — Lawyer

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Ibrahim Salami, one of the Cotonou, Benin Republic-based lawyers of Yoruba Nation separatist leader, Sunday Igboho, said his client might be released by the Cour D’Appal De Cotonou on Monday (tomorrow).

According to him, Igboho has two more stages to undergo before he will be freed.

The law professor, in an interview with BBC Yoruba, complained that the police in Benin Republic handcuffed the hands of his client five days after his arrest.

The PUNCH had reported that the Beninese court adjourned Igboho’s case till Monday after his five lawyers failed to convince the prosecutor that he had no case to answer.

The Beninese authorities have, however, released Ropo, the agitator’s wife, who was arrested with the 48-year-old activist on Monday, July 19, 2021, by the International Criminal Police Organisation at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Republic of Benin on their way to Germany.

On his part, Igboho was returned to police custody.

The lawyers had said that during the hearing, prosecutors claimed Igboho was on a watchlist for alleged trafficking in arms, inciting violence that could result in social disturbance and causing disunity in Nigeria.

Salami said, “In Benin here, there are three stages (judicial protocol) of trial. The first is with the prosecutor, the second one is with the investigating judge and the third will determine whether he is guilty and should be sentenced or not.

“The next phase is on Monday. The first phase with the prosecutor has been concluded. When we get to court on Monday, we will be facing the investigation judge, and after that, we will face the judge that will determine whether he should be sentenced or not.”

When asked if the process would end on Monday, he added, “Yes, it will end on Monday. Before the end of Monday, we will know if the Benin Republic government wants to jail or release him. That will be clear on Monday.”

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