Canadian judge Henry Brown has granted asylum reliefs to Lukmon Owolabi Shoyebo after claiming APC presidential flag bearer Bola Tinubu tried to kill him in Lagos for defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
Mr Shoyebo, a former APC youth leader, operating on a local level, said he incurred the wrath of Mr Tinubu and Bolaji Ayinla, the then House of Representatives member for Mushin II constituency, for decamping to PDP at a time when the party was desperately counting on his support to overthrow the party.
Mr Shoyebo also claimed that an assassination attempt on him on November 18, 2015, resulted in the death of two people at his workplace. The Nigerian asylum seeker also told the Canadian authorities that his relatives were targets of vicious attacks.
“The family claims refugee protection because they fear persecution from a powerful political figure in the All Progressive Congress (APC) and a chief in the Ogboni cult, due to the PA’s (principal applicant) political opinion,” stated the application presented before Mr Brown, seen by Peoples Gazette.
“They also allegedly fear an elected APC member of the Federal House of Representatives for the Mushin II constituency who has in the past joined forces with the Ogboni chief in attempting to harm the PA,” the document added.
While Mr Tinubu’s name was not specifically mentioned in the redacted court document, reliable sources in the Mushin axis of Lagos told The Gazette that the APC presidential candidate is the “powerful political figure” and “a chief in the Ogboni cult” Mr Shoyebo accused of the assassination attempt.
Tunde Rahman, Mr Tinubu’s media aide, did not immediately reply to The Gazette’s request seeking comments on the allegations.
According to Mr Shoyebo’s account, his defection cost the APC a chunk of the youths who joined him in pitching tents with the PDP, stressing the defection marked the beginning of harassment and death threats against him and members of his family.
“He claims that starting in March 2015, he faced repeated threats. Then on November 18, 2015, the PA claims he escaped an attempt by one of the agents of persecution through other individuals to kill him at his worksite,” added the document. “Two of the PA’s colleagues were killed during this attack. The applicants claim they later learned that both AOP had been attempting to harm the PA.”
Mr Shoyebo further claimed “his relatives have also been targeted since, and that all these events were sponsored by the two APC affiliates mentioned,” which included an alleged attack on March 7, 2016, that the “AOP’s agents allegedly showed up at the PA’s mother’s home and attacked her.”
Mr Shoyebo’s initial request appealing the rejection of his asylum application was dismissed because the police did not ascertain or deny the attack on his life as claimed. Also, a Canadian doctor could not link the injuries the applicant sustained to “political activism.”
However, Mr Brown, in a September 7 ruling, asserted that the inability of the police to issue confirmation or denial of the attack on Mr Shoyebo did not in any way invalidate his claims, especially since he mentioned he filed a police report, alerting the authorities.
He further asserted that the doctor could not have established if the patient’s injuries were caused by an “improperly motivated attack” or not since the doctor was not there. He stated that the medical reports need not establish the reason for the attack.
Upon revisiting the reasons his initial request was denied, Mr Brown concluded the earlier decision was “procedurally unfair” and therefore granted the application for judicial review.
With the latest development, a differently constituted panel will now reconsider Mr Shoyebo’s application for asylum alongside his wife and two daughters in Canada.