A civic organisation, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has written the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, over the arrest, brutality, ill-treatment and detention of members of the Coastal Safety and Awareness Initiative of Nigeria by operatives attached to NNS Beecroft, Naval Base, Apapa, Lagos State.

The letter signed by RULAAC Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday said the actions of the soldiers were in “contravention of due process safeguard under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The group added that civilians should not be detained at a military facility even if they committed any offence under Nigerian law.

The petition reads, “Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) writes to bring to your attention and to request your urgent intervention to ensure the immediate release of members of the Coastal Safety and Awareness Initiative of Nigeria from unlawful detention and inhumane treatment at the Naval facility, the NNS BEECROFT, APAPA, Lagos.

“Representatives of the group informed RULAAC as follows: That their organisation is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) registered in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission and established with the core mandate of overseeing activities on the coastal waters of Nigeria.

“That their organisation has the following specific objectives, to with; search and rescue operations; preservation of healthy and sustainable environment and coastal safety and security, among others

“That their organisation is in partnership with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Global Anti-Terrorist School of Israel, Maritime Union of Nigeria, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA)  and other waterways sister agencies in Nigeria.

“That among those arrested and currently detained at the NNS BEECROFT APAPA are: Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organisation; Linus Mgbada, arrested on Monday 13th December for alleged impersonation of the Navy, putting on Naval uniform, which he denies; John Paul Onyekwere; Victor Aguda; Freeborn Justice and Francis, all of whom were arrested on Thursday 9th December, 2021, accused of extortion, bunkering, and impersonation.

“That the CEO, Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi was arrested when he went to the NNS Beecroft to seek the release of his members earlier arrested. That they deny all the aforesaid allegations leveled against them.

“That they are a civilian organisation and should not be detained at a military facility; and that assuming, without conceding, that they have committed any offense under any Nigerian law, they should be referred to the Police for proper investigation and appropriate treatment according to the law, rather than being indefinitely detained at a naval facility and denied access to their families and legal representatives.

“RULAAC calls on the Chief of Naval staff to direct that all members of the organisation currently detained by the Nigerian Navy at the NNS Beecroft, Apapa be released without further delay.”

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