A Nigerian separatist wanted in his country was remanded in custody on Tuesday in Benin, where he was arrested at the airport last week, judicial sources told AFP.
Sunday Igboho, who advocates for independence for the southwestern Yoruba people, is accused of “criminal association,” according to a judicial source in Benin’s commercial capital Cotonou.
“The judge placed him under a warrant of detention,” said one of Igboho’s lawyers, Toide Behanzin.
“He is being accused of crimes against people and properties in Benin. The case is totally baseless.”
In early July, Nigerian security officials raided Igboho’s home in the city of Ibadan, later saying he had escaped after they found military equipment and other weapons.
Police said at the time the finds were “confirmation of a grand plan by Igboho and his cohorts to wage a violent insurrection against the Nigerian State.”
He was arrested last week in neighbouring Benin while attempting to board a flight bound for Germany, an airport source had told AFP.
Igboho “will be extradited to Nigeria as soon as the two countries have agreed on conditions,” a senior Benin police official had said, with a second confirming the arrest.
Igboho’s legal team say they are not aware of any extradition request.
Nigeria on Monday resumed the trial of another prominent separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an outlawed movement that agitates for a separate Biafran state in southeast Nigeria.
Kanu was brought back to the country in controversial circumstances, but the case was quickly adjourned to October 21 after he was not present in court. No reason was given for his absence.