The authorities in Benin have released Nigerian separatist leader, Sunday “Igboho” Adeyemo, according to his spokesperson.
He was freed on Monday in Cotonou on health grounds, but he is to remain in Benin for security reasons.
Adeyemo was arrested at Cotonou airport in July 2021 alongside his wife on Nigeria’s request, although his wife was released days later. The couple was said to be headed for Germany where his wife is a citizen.
He was accused of entering Benin illegally and planning to cause trouble but he denied the charges. The Nigerian authorities never made a formal extradition request.
According to his spokesperson, Maxwell Adeleye, Adeyemo was released to the leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-determination Groups, Banji Akintoye.
He said the separatist leader was not expected to appear in court in Benin as he had no case to answer. Nigeria accuses Adeyemo of stocking piling weapons, calling for the break-up of the country and inciting ethnic killings.
Adeyemo is hailed as a hero by his supporters after calling for a Yoruba nation in the country’s south-west.
He fled the country after a raid on his home by Nigeria’s secret police in 2021 where two of his associated were killed.