A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has accused Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign council, of plotting the arrest and detention of Deji Adeyanji, Convener of Concerned Nigerians.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday in Abuja, Dare Ariyo Atoye, Coordinator of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, said Keyamo’s “stoic silence” on the matter, at the expense of the “continued violation of the rights of a person he once represented, therefore fuels concerns in the thoughts of many Nigerians”.
He noted that Keyamo may have played a key role in the design and execution of the plot to keep Adeyanju out of circulation in order to protect the interests of Buhari and his campaign.
He said: "We had previously written a letter to Keyamo pleading for his intervention in the matter. It is therefore nearly impossible to escape this conclusion, seeing as a person of Mr. Keyamo’s standing in society and antecedents, especially as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) — who should have been at the forefront of demands for Mr. Adeyanju’s release knowing the facts of his acquittal in that matter — has chosen to remain silent.
“It is nearly impossible to resist the conclusion that Mr. Keyamo may have chosen to sacrifice his professional ethics on the altar of regime protection and at the expense of justice."
He added that Adeyanju had spent 50 days in detention, noting that he has suffered double jeopardy of assault on human rights.
"It is also important to note that during the course of his trial in 2009, Mr. Adeyanju was represented by Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), who is currently the spokesperson for the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. This fact is important in the light of Mr. Adeyanju’s criticism of the Buhari administration over the last three years, which had resulted in several arrests and detentions.
“It is instructive to note that Mr. Keyamo now works for the Buhari presidency, which by all indications wants Mr Adeyanju out of circulation, before, during and immediately after the 2019 general election for obvious reasons.”
The group said that it has drawn the attention of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee respectively, to Keyamo’s conduct.
"We wish to give him 48 hours to respond to several public inquiries on this issue, following which we shall commence a series of actions against him,” he added.
He called on the international community to respond to the divisive agenda of the President, which he said is “aimed at creating ethno-religious gap among young Nigerians and unsettle the future of Nigeria”.
Present at event were Raphael Adebayo, Convener of the Free Nigeria Movement, Moses Paul, Coordinator of MadConnect, among others.