The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has alleged that that the draconian Decree 2, an instrument of the Buhari/ Idiagbon military regime under which citizens were arrested and clamped into detention without trial has found its way back into the country considering cases of people currently in various detentions without trial and against court order for their release.
Intersociety, in a memo sent to the Federal Government through the Office of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo which was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, it’s Board Chairman and other executive members condemned in entirety the continuing detention of Ibrahim Zaky El-Zaky and his wife-Malama Zeenatu as well as Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Dave Nwawuisi, Ben Madubugwu and Bright Chimezie Ishinwa, It claimed that it is constitutional, regionally and internationally abominable and unjustifiable to throw innocent citizens into indefinite detention for two years without trial; on the basis of what was described as hatred and vindictiveness.
This action of the government was described as a clear breach of Section 35 (4) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which prohibits arrest and detention of citizens for over 60 days or two months without trial or administrative or court bail no matter the gravity of the alleged criminal offence or offences.
It, therefore demanded that immediate and unconditional release of all innocent political detainees in Nigeria including the leader of IMN and his beloved wife asking that all phantom charges against them must be dropped and discontinued by the AGF.
Intersociety urged Osinbajo to use his good offices as the acting President and a professor of law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria to direct the AGF and the authorities of the SSS including its DG to discontinue as a matter of uttermost immediacy the draconian, undemocratic and unconstitutional practice of arresting and detaining Nigerians especially the regime critics for several months and in many cases for over one year and above without trial or administrative bail.
“The most recent case in point is the release by SSS on 23rd June 2017 of the duo of Citizens Henry Onuorah and Bassey Mohammed; two IPOB officials arrested and detained solitarily without charge by the Service since 9th July 2016; a period of over 11 months. Another clear case in point is the inclusion on 22nd June 2017 through an amended charge of Citizen Bright Chimezie Ishinwa in the list of those IPOB/pro-Biafra activists vindictively arraigned in court by the SSS/AGF. Citizen Bright Chimezie Ishinwa is an IPOB official arrested and detained incommunicado without trial or access to his family and lawyers by SSS since 16th of September 2016.
“Despite the 24th May 2017 judgment of a Uyo Federal High Court ordering his unconditional release and payment of N5million compensation to him, the SSS refused to release him till date; leading to contempt and committal proceedings initiated against the authorities of the Service; only for the Service to make a u-turn and hurriedly filed an amended charge in the pending case of Nnamdi Kanu and or and joined him as a co-defendant. In the said amended charge, Citizen Bright Chimezie Ishinwa was slammed with “conspiracy to commit a treasonable felony and improper importation of goods”. On account of this, Sir, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s present bail or conditional freedom is threatened, if not technically revoked. This is owing to the fact that all the accused persons including Nnamdi Kanu will take fresh pleas whenever their case resumes leading to their fresh bail applications to be made orally or in writing,”, the memo read in part.
Intersociety, therefore, reiterated its demand for that the Federal Executive Council should approve Special Criminal Investigations Board.
“There shall be constituted urgently a special criminal investigations board to thoroughly, dispassionately and conclusively investigate: (1) the massacre and maiming of Shiite Muslims in Zaria; (2) the mass killing and maiming of pro-Biafra activists in Southeast and parts of South-south Nigeria; (3) the mass killing of predominant rural citizens especially Christians by armed Fulani herdsmen since June 2015 and possible reprisal killing of Fulani herdsmen/citizens by the victims’ groups; and (4) the Rann IDP bombing in Maiduguri and other war-related conduct atrocities including Amnesty International’s allegation that “240 civilians including 29 children aged between newborn and five years were made to die in Nigerian Army’s custody in 2016 in Maiduguri; after which they were buried in secret mass graves by the officials of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency”.
“The modalities for the special criminal investigations board under demand shall be worked out by the Attorney General of the Federation and Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and presented to the Federal Executive Council for ratification and approval. That is to say, Sir, upon receipt of this letter of ours and its attachments, you shall refer same to the AGF and Office of the SGF for immediate action Sir.
“The Special Criminal Investigations Board shall expertly be headed by the DIG in-charge of Nigeria Police Criminal Investigations and; composed of representatives of Directorate of Military Intelligence, Military Police, State Security Service, and National Intelligence Agency and their legal departments as well as office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”, the group demanded.
It further requested that the investigative personnel so chosen must be serving members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Police and drawn from all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria as well as suggesting that the Board may be decentralized and that its investigative personnel must penetrate impenetrable and avoid any form of armchair syndrome or stay in the comfort of their offices and be inviting members of the public to appear before them.
Also demanded from FEC is the approval of a 3-in-One Judicial Commissions of Enquiry: to be decentralized and located in (a) Zaria, (b) Benue and (3) Enugu to look into: (i) massacre and maiming of Shiite Muslims in Zaria, (ii) killings by armed Fulani herdsmen and reprisal killings, if any, since June 2015, and (iii) mass killing and maiming of pro-Biafra activists in Southeast and South-south. Its modalities shall also be worked out under your directive by the AGF and Office of the SGF and presented to FEC for ratification and approval.
The Commissions, it said should have representatives drawn from (1) Amnesty International, (2) Human Rights Watch, (3) Nigerian Rights Groups especially those based in the Southeast Zone, Kaduna and Abuja; (4) the Federal Government of Nigeria bearing in mind its federal character principle or geopolitical spread; (5) Nigerian Armed Forces and Police; (6) Nigerian Bar Association; (7) the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria and its Kafanchan Archdiocese; (8) the ECWA Church in Nigeria and its Kaduna zone; (9) the Christian Association of Nigeria including the PFN; (10) relevant Muslim bodies; (11) the Islamic Movement in Nigeria or Shiites; (12) the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB); (13) Nigerian Union of Journalists, (14) Ohanaeze Ndigbo, (15) etc. It shall be 60% non-State actor and 40% State actor composed.
“The 3-in-One Special Judicial Commissions of Enquiry of the Federal Government shall come out with fair and dispassionate recommendations including: (1) punitive and administrative sanctions such as dismissal or sack of those public office holders found vicariously and operationally culpable; as well as their criminal prosecution; (2) proscription of violent groups found culpable and criminal prosecution of its principal officers and foot perpetrators; and (3) adequate compensation of the individual and group victims of State killings as well as those killed by the Nomad Fulani armed group.