Politics: Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, 23 others held by security agencies – Relatives allege Daily Parrot

Nnamdi Kanu

No fewer than 24 persons, including a member of the legal team representing the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, Pius Awoke are said be currently unaccounted following their alleged arrest by security operatives.

Relatives of the missing persons, (including their wives and children) and another member of the Kanu legal team, Nnaemeka Ejiofor alleged that they are being held in the detention camps of the Department of State Services (DSS).

They spoke in Abuja on Monday while giving details of past efforts to ascertain their whereabouts and secure their freedom.

Ejiofor said the 24 persons were part of hundreds of people in different courts in Nigeria most of whom have now become victims of forced disappearance from the custody of the DSS, Police and Nigerian Army.

He said: “Once a person is forced to disappear, such a person loses the protection of the law. The persons under this unlawful detention are purely under the state of nature and in these days of trading in human parts one cannot tell if they have been balkanized and sold in bits and pieces.

“We urge the Federal Government to do the right thing by producing these victims and releasing them to their families with apologies and compensation as it is not a crime to demand for self-determination like the IPOB under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been clamouring for over the years”, he said.

He gave the names of others to include Ikechukwu Henry, Joy Godwin Udoh aka (Idara Gold), Emeka Ngonadi, Chinedu Nwoba, Igwe Johnson Dike, Ogbonna Joseph Ajah, Kingsley Onovu, Ogbonna David, Kenneth Ojima, Fortune Okezie, Joseph Okafor Eze, Emmanuel Onyibe Chinonso and Uket Godwin.

Also being held, Ejiofor added, are Ogbonna Christian Ndubisi, Eze Ernest Chukwuemeka, Ibeleme Tochukwu, Emmanuel Ike, Rev Cletus Egole, Pastor Philip Chinedu Egole, Chinonso Anyanwu, Kelechi Okeke, Godspower Chilemu and Chukwuma Nwaokike.

Ejiofor said the men and woman, being detained, who are of Igbo and Ibibio extractions were accused by the Federal Government of belonging to IPOB or close associates of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and were arrested from various parts of Nigeria on various dates while their whereabouts remained unknown.

He said, “Pius I. Awoke, Fortune Okezie, Chinedu Nwoba, Chinonso Onyeibe, Eze Joseph, David Ogbonnaya, Ajah Joseph, Igwe Johnson, Kenneth Ojima, Widom Ezika Nwambana, Uket Godwin:

“The above eleven persons were amongst those who came from Ebonyi State, Eastern Nigeria to witness the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on July 26 2021.

After the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on the said date at the Federal High Court, Abuja, they boarded two vehicles back to Ebonyi State only to be intercepted by a Navy Unit stationed at Lokoja, Kogi State.

“They were held down at the check point for over five hours till a team of the state security service came to take them back to Abuja.

“Upon being sued in court to challenge their arrest and detention, they were said to have been transferred to WAWA Military Barracks in Niger State. Neither their lawyers nor their families have seen them or spoken to them nor have they been brought before any court for trial.

“Ikechukwu Henry – A father of a four months old baby at the time of arrest and a husband was arrested alongside his wife and the baby by members of the Nigerian Army at about 2am from their residence at Akwuke Akwnano, Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State on August 23 2021.

“He was detained at the military police detention room in Enugu until September 1 2021 when he was moved with a military Air force jet Dunia to Abuja and kept in the counter intelligence command under the Chief of Military Intelligence, Brigade General Onoja and as at December 23 2021 he was in cell five of the counter intelligence command.

“He has not been allowed access to his lawyers and family members who led to the family instituting a case at the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu before Hon Justice I. N. Buba.

“His Lordship on March 23 2022 ordered the Nigerian Army to produce Ikechukwu Henry before him on the next adjourned date being March 25 2022.

“On March 30 2022, the Nigerian Army filed a counter affidavit deposed to by one Lt. Col, Chidi Egbom informing the court that Ikechukwu Henry was transferred to the custody of State Security Services consequent upon which the state security services was made a party in the suit.

“The State Security Services filed a counter affidavit denying that they have or received Ikechukwu Henry into its custody. The court consequently made an order for oral evidence to be taken so as to clear the difference in the deposition of both the Nigerian Army and the State Security Service.

Read Also: Nnamdi Kanu not off the hook yet, National Security Council insists

“Both parties appeared in court on the 21st June, 2022 and each party, the SSS and the Army, maintained their positions. Despite the various opportunities given to the Nigerian Army to prove that it indeed transferred Ikechukwu Henry to the state security service, they could not till date and the matter has been adjourned for judgment. Till date, Ikechukwu Henry’s whereabouts is unknown.”

Also, Joy Godwin Udoh (Idara Gold), 20 years old lady was said to have gone to celebrate her birthday with her fiancée when officers of the DSS stormed the fiancée’s house in search of the fiancée, Mazi Chuks Egwuatu.

While her fiancée’s siblings were released after about five days in detention; she was transferred to Abuja office of the DSS on November 16 2022.

Udoh’s offence, the lawyer said, was that she dressed in a certain coloured dress for her birthday and the security agencies concluded that coloured dress was advertising and influencing for IPOB.

Like the others before and after her, Ejiofor said she was transferred to a military cell without an order of court and contrary to all known laws in Nigeria.

He said,: “The Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Maha deprecated the action of the state security service and ordered that Joy Godwin Udoh be allowed access to her lawyers and family members but despite the order of court the DSS have consistently failed to allow us, her lawyers, family members, access to her.

“Udoh was subsequently charged to court for being a member of IPOB but on the date slated for her to be brought to court, the Federal Government, through the officers of the Attorney General’s office said she could not be brought to court due to logistic challenges. (Whatever that means).

“Till today, we do not know where Joy Godwin Udoh is neither has any of us including her family been able to see or meet or hear from her.

“Emeka Ngonadi: Was arrested by men of the SSS on April 10 2021 on his way back from Lagos where he had gone to buy goods for his trade. He was taken to Abuja office of the SSS where he was detained and subsequently moved to the military detention facility on the September 23 2021, according to an affidavit by the SSS.

“The Federal Government has failed to charge him court and has not allowed his lawyers or family members to visit him till date. The SSS also confiscated all his goods worth over N60 million which he was bringing into Onitsha from Lagos.

“Ogbonna Christian Ndubisi: Was arrested amidst serious beating by combined team of SSS and Police on August 20 2022 at about 2:30am from his house at No.29 Ukwuagor Road, Abakpa near Ahia 4, Enugu State. His wife was not spared in the beating. He was transferred to Abuja office of the SSS and nobody has heard or seen him since then.

“It is important to note that all the victims here are all of Igbo extraction except for Joy Godwin Udoh whose mother is Igbo and Uket Godwin both of whom are from Akwa-Ibom State with close affinity with the Igbos. The offences of these men and woman are that they are members of IPOB or close associates of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“None of these victims of enforced disappearance have received
anything like a trial since their arrests. None of them has ever been allowed to contact their lawyers or family and all judicial efforts made to see them or get them released has been illegally thwarted and frustrated.

“These victims are just a fraction of the number of persons who were arrested and disappeared as so many very gory and scary reports of extra-judicial execution, murder in the cruelest manner such as by suffocation, starvation and or summary execution abound.

“We sincerely urge you gentlemen of the press to intervene by interrogating the federal government of Nigeria on the where about of these individuals.

“We urge you to query the Federal Government as to why it has refused to charge them to court or where charged why they have failed to produce them in court to face their trial.

“We wonder why the Federal Government has not allowed these victims to meet with their lawyers and or family since from the time of their arrest to date even when there is a valid subsisting court order in some cases.

“We urge you to find out from the Federal Government by what law it
detained civilians in a military detention even when these civilian victims are not and have never been military personnel of any sort.

“At the response of the Federal Government to these issues and questions, you will have no choice but come to the irresistible conclusions that the action of the Federal Government using their Army and SSS constitutes a gross violation of all know local and international laws and protocols to which Nigeria claims to subscribe to.

“The Federal Government and its security and military agencies actions under the circumstances in review offend civilization and democracy in its entire ramification.”

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