Dr. Bertin Koovi
Dr. Bertin Koovi, an opposition leader in Benin Republic has, in an audio message, cried out to President Nuhammadu Buhari to use the intrumentality of his position in the West African subregion and Africa as a whole to safe him and other opposition leaders who are targets of crackdown by the government of President Patrice Talon. Koovi, candidate of the Alliance Iroko (political party) contested to be president of Benin in 2016.
Koovi lives in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea but is being held in detention by the authorities of that country. That followed complaints from the President of Benin to the President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea about him. Koovi may eventually be deported to Benin to face persecution. This medium learnt that another former President, Boni Yayi, had been arrested too.
In the video message in possession of TheNEWS, recorded by Koovi on 11 May 2019 and sent from his Malabo jail, he revealed that he contested election in 2016. At the time, he said he was the only candidate that called to vote against Talon.
The opposition leader, a speaker of French and English, continued in his audio message:
“Since then, I am the man to be killed for Patrice Talon. Your Excellency, President Buhari, I am calling upon you to intervene in the political case of Benin Republic. This is because I know your life story as far as politics is concerned. I know your righteousness.
“Your Excellency, if you want to understand Benin case, just take the Abacha case and multiply it by three. How could one imagine a president banning political parties before being elected and only allowed the two parties he created before the parliamentary election? Why should a president say the opposition parties should not contest election?
“Your Excellency, President Buhari, after experiencing freedom, how could Benin Republic people accept dictatorship?
“In my position as a former presidential candidate and commander -in -chief of the “Free Benin from Dictaorship”, I call upon you to be a mediator on [on this matter] to ECOWAS, African Union and United Nations. We only want to be allowed to choose those who will represent us in Benin Parliament. Our [opposition] people are shot at by the soldiers that Talon brought from Rwanda.
“Your Excellency, President Buhari, this is the time for Nigeria to show its leadership in ECOWAS.
“May God bless Nigeria. May God bless Benin Republic. May God bless Africa.
From my jail in Malabo for political accusation made by Talon. But Equatorial Guinea is respecting my rights.
God bless you all. Thank you.
By Dr. Bertin Koovi Commander -in -Chief of Free Benin from the Dictatorship of Talon.”