Apex Ijaw socio-cultural group, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), has petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Council, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Switzerland,  Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over the continued detention of  people of Niger Delta origin by the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies.                              

This was disclosed in a letter signed by the group's spokesman, Mr. Henry Iyala. The petition, according to the letter, was on occasion of the World Human Rights Day. Dated 10 December and signed by IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare, the petition stated that many people of Niger Delta origin are currently detained without trial by the DSS in relation to their agitation for a better Niger Delta.       

The IYC disclosed that Mr. Daniel Ezekiel, recently released from DSS detention after more than a year without trial, told the IYC President that there are 50 people of Niger Delta origin in DSS detention. Among those in detention, said the group, are Messrs. Alex Odogu, IYC Spokesman, Abuja Chapter; Michael John, Gabriel Ogbu, Justus Golubus, Joshua Golubus, Norway Suku, Felix Mieminiye and John Fortune.                               

Jones Abiri

The IYC stated that the continued detention of the activists 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.                       

"These international instruments and local laws guarantee citizens right to personal liberty and obligate security agencies to charge anybody that is arrested on suspicion of having committed an offense within 24 hours or a reasonable time," said the IYC.         

It added that most of the people have been detained for over a year, including those whose freedom have been ordered by the courts.                            

"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 organization stated.

It called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Raiad Al Hussein, Commissioners of the Africa Commission on Human and People's Rights and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission to prevail on the security agencies, especially the DSS, to release those in detention.

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