Dutch authorities have arrested Niger-Delta activist, Sunny Ofehe, in his home in Charlois, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. A team of Dutch police men raided the house of Mr. Ofehe, who is the President/Founder of the Hope For Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), on February 22, 2011. T
he police men took Mr. Ofehe away and spent five hours searching his house. Since his arrest, his wife, Dorothy Ofehe, has not had access to him. His Dutch lawyer has also refused to disclose to the family the reason for his arrest and detention.
The secrecy surrounding his arrest and the refusal of the Dutch authorities to charge him to court are sources of concern to his family. Just four weeks ago, Sunny Ofehe spoke at a Dutch Parliamentary Commission in The Hague, Netherlands. The Commission held a hearing on oil extraction in Nigeria and its impact on the local population.
““There are many people in the villages who are waiting for the outcome of this hearing,” Mr. Ofehe told the Commission. “And I want to tell you that, while you do your duty as elected representative of this country... you might face pressure from the giant companies who have the money and the resources to stall this process that has begun today. But as you ponder... I want you to have deep down in your heart that more than 26 million people are dying from environmental devastation... every fuel tank you fill [is] at the expense of somebody's health.”
In a press release obtained by Saharareporters, the family called the attention of the world to the unlawful detention of Sunny Ofehe for over 48 hours after with arrest without charging him to court.
“The family believes the activist’s current travail is being masterminded by a multinational oil corporation in the Niger Delta, which has very strong influence in the Netherlands government and is becoming increasingly uncomfortable over Ofehe’s campaign in Europe against environmental and social injustice in the region,” the press release says.
According to Mrs Ofehe, on that Tuesday morning, “a detachment of policemen stormed our home in Charlois, Rotterdam. They took my husband away before ransacking the house for about five hours in the presence of our children. Till now, the children are still traumatized by the Gestapo-style invasion of the Dutch police, who refused to produce even a warrant for his arrest.
“Since then I have not been allowed to see him or know where he is being detained. I’m worried that this could be happening in a European country, which claims to uphold the rule of law. At the moment, we are not sure of his condition.”
Sunny Ofehe’s elder brother, Goodie, expressed similar fears on the fate of the activist.
“We are already afraid that he might have been harmed. Our brother does not live in Holland illegally. He is also a Dutch citizen and has been living there for the past 16 years. So why is he being treated that way?
“We learnt that they held him because they have not concluded investigation into a matter they refused to disclose. But why detain somebody for more than 24 hours because you are investigating a matter? Is he a criminal? They should disclose his offence and charge him to court,” Goodie Ofehe said.
Goodie Ofehe plans to lodge a formal protest with the Dutch embassy in Abuja.
Sunny Ofehe’s arrest came two days before he was scheduled to travel to Nigeria for the funeral rites of his late mother.