By Osa Okhomina,Yenagoa
The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Commission over the alleged continued refusal of the Federal Government to release over 50 detained Niger Delta ex-militants in security operatives’ custody.
The petition by the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) was also copied to the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right and the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria.
The IYC, in the petition dated December 10, 2017, and signed by its President, Mr. Eric Omare, to mark the 2017 World Human Rights Day, said inspite of the Niger Delta people fulfilment of the peace talks with FG on the existing peace in the region, the detainees had been in custody for more than a year in relation to Niger Delta agitations without trial.
The body, therefore,called on the commissions to facilitate their release from detention facilities in the country, particularly in the Department of State Services.
The IYC disclosed in the letter that Mr. Daniel Ezekiel, one of the detainees recently released from DSS custody, revealed that there were 50 Niger Delta agitators in DSS detention centres until his release after a year and three months in detention without trial.
The group further said, “Some of the Niger Delta persons in detention are Alex Odogu (IYC Spokesman, Abuja Chapter);a Bayelsa based Newspaper Publisher, Comrade Jones Abiri, Michael John; Gabriel Ogbu; Justus Golubus; Joshua Golubus; Norway Suku; Felix Mieminiye; and John Fortune, among others.”
“We state that the continued detention of these Niger Deltans without trial amounts to a violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Fundamental Human Rights.”
“These international instruments and local laws guarantee citizens’ rights to personal liberty and obligate security agencies to charge anybody that is arrested in suspicion of having committed an offence within 24 hours or a reasonable time”.
“The IYC states that most of the Niger Delta people in detention have spent more than a year in detention without trial. In some of the cases, the courts in Nigeria have made an order for their release but the relevant security agencies refused to obey the order and release them on bail.”
The IYC called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Commissioner of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights; and the Executive Secretary, NHRCN, to prevail on the relevant security agencies, especially the DSS, to release them from detention as a matter of urgency.