The Northwest Alliance for Citizens Freedom (NWCF) said that it has watched with stoical calm, events unfolding since the arbitrary arrest and unexplained detention of the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdurasheed Bawa.
In a statement signed by the president general Lawal Ibrahim Jamaare, NWCF noted that Abdulrasheed Bawa has spent 33 days in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June 14, hours after his suspension by President Bola Tinubu.
It noted with utter perplexity that since Bawa’s arrest, the DSS has kept silent on the specific offences for which he was arrested, the level of investigation, and whether charges would be filed against him in court.
The group said the continued detention of Bawa by the DSS for over three weeks now, is unconstitutional and a breach of his fundamental rights under the 1999 Constitution and other relevant laws that guarantee personal liberty and provide that an arrested or detained person should be held in a place authorised by law.
It added that the prolonged detention of Abdurasheed Bawa, without access to counsel and his family, constitutes a clear violation of international human rights norms, which prohibit arbitrary or unlawful detention.
In its resolutions and demands the group condemned the unlawful arrest and detention of Abdurasheed Bawa, and called on Nigerian government to uphold its human rights obligations, adding that it finds this act of the DSS, a Nigerian government agency a blatant contravention of the rights protected under the 1999 Constitution, such as the right to personal liberty, which are equally protected under regional and international treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“We wish to remind President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of his human rights obligations and commitments, and to call on him to continue taking steps towards upholding democratic values in Nigeria.
“NWCF calls on the President to compel the DSS to immediately release Abdurasheed Bawa and all those detained in similar circumstances or to charge them with an internationally recognised offence, and to ensure their physical and psychological integrity in custody.
“The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the NHRC should investigate Abdulrasheed Bawa’s as well as all credible allegations involving unlawful detention, and those identified as responsible should be prosecuted in fair trials,” the statement reads in part.
The group said government should also ensure victims have access to remedies including compensation as well as medical and psychological care and called on regional and international partners of Nigeria to urge the government to adhere to its human rights obligations, and close all unauthorised places of detention, end unlawful detentions, and provide justice and remedies to victims and their families.