Falana writes Buhari, demands release of 40 Nigerians illegally detained by Navy

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Femi Falana.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding the release of 40 Nigerians illegally being detained by the Nigerian Navy.

In the letter to the president, dated 19 May, 2019, Falana said there had been complaints from the family members of 40 Nigerian citizens who were being detained without trial on the orders of the Authorities of the Nigerian Navy.

He told the president that the detainees had 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 in Marina, Lagos. The detainees have been subjected to mental, psychological and physical torture contrary to 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,” he explained.

Falana stated that since all the detainees were 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, he urged Buhari to direct the Chief of 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.

According to him, in view of the fact that the illegal detention of the 40 Nigerian citizens for several months without trial had exposed the Federal Government to unwarranted embarrassment, the Chief of Naval Staff ought to be sanctioned by the president.

Below are names of the detainees

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

40. MT Adeline Jumbo