Femi Falana, human rights activist and senoir advocate of Nigeria has written the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari demanding the release of 40 citizens kept incommunicado by the Nigerian Navy In various detention facilities across the country.

In the letter obtained by SaharaReporters on Sunday, Falana is demanding the unconditional release of the detained 40 to protect their dignity and fundamental human rights.

The letter reads:

His Excellency,
Alhaji Mohammadu Buhari,
President & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,
Presidential Villa,
Aso Rock,
Abuja.


Your Excellency,


Request for the release of 40 Nigerian citizens from illegal custody of Nigerian Navy


We have received petitions from the family members of 40 Nigerian citizens being detained without trial by the Nigerian Navy. The names of the detainees are:
1.     Captain Dada Labinjo,
2.     Lt. Commander Sherifat Ibe Lambert
3.     Benjamin Gold
4.     Peter Pulle,
5.     Pius Paul,
6.     Onoja Reuben,
7.     Adeleke Adewale,
8.     Labinjo Kehinde,
9.     Ogunmoyero Oluwasehun,
10.    Emmanuel Oputa,
11.    Innocent Sunday,
12.    Iejoro Friday,
13.    Hamza Yakubu,
14.    Segun Yusuf.
15.    Master-Melvin Jack ;
16     Chief Mate-Adebayo Mayoma 
17.    Chief Mate- Francis Oneyema
18     2nd Eng-Godwill Umoh
19     Bosin-Miebaka Iyala
20     Elect 2-Edu Fidelis
21.    Elect 2-Richard David
22     Camp Boss-Daniel Harrison
23.    Asaiki Okeoghene
24     AB 1-Omogoye Bolaji
25     AB 2-Victor Uchendu
26     AB 3-Oloyede Ademola
27.    Oiler-Simon Onyisi Mike
28.    Eng cadet-Udom Victor Jerome
29     Godwin Etiaka Ojodusi        
30.    Sixtus Ganabel                          
31     Owei Ukuto                               
32     Jeremiah Victor                          
33     Collins Joel                
34.    Augustine Omonisa                    
35     MV Akemijo Deborah          
36     Mike Simeon
37     Umoren Daniel
38     James Archibong
39     Umon Godswill Emmanuel.

It may interest Your Excellency to know that the above named detainees have been held incommunicado in dehumanising conditions for periods ranging from six to eight months. In fact, some of the detainees are incarcerated in an underground military detention facility in Abuja while others are held inside one of the vessels impounded by the Nigerian Navy. By subjecting the detainees to mental, psychological and physical torture the Naval Authorities have contravened the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017.

Furthermore, in utter contempt of court the authorities of the Nigerian Navy have defied valid and subsisting orders of competent courts for the unconditional release of some of the detainees. Apart from such contemptuous conduct the Nigerian Navy recently denied knowledge of the whereabouts of the 15 detainees held in a detention facility  in Abuja. As soon as we pointed out that  the remand order procured by the Nigerian Navy for the detention of the 15 detainees had been quashed by the Chief Magistrate Court in Apapa, Lagos State the Naval Authorities turned round to file criminal charges against 5 of them before a Court Martial.

Since all the detainees are entitled to their fundamental rights to dignity and liberty guaranteed by sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, we urge Your Excellency to direct the Chief Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, to either release the detainees from unlawful custody or arraign them in court without any further delay. 

In view of the fact that the illegal detention of the 40 Nigerian citizens for without trial has exposed the Federal Government to unwarranted embarrassment the Chief of Naval Staff ought to be sanctioned by Your Excellency. 

Please accept the assurances of our highest esteem.


Yours sincerely,
FEMI FALANA, SAN, FCI Arb.

 

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