LAWLESS JUSTICE: Our Country Remains A Risk Unless And Until We Learn To Respect Human Rights, By Festus Ogun.

Barrister Festus Ogun says, he was reliably informed this morning, that one Emeka Richmond Ngornadi, a businessman, has been arrested and detained by the State Security Service (DSS) since April 2021 for allegedly making comments on social media in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and is critically ill in detention. Regardless of whatever crime he’s alleged to have committed, this is an abysmal abuse of human rights that should not go unchallenged. The SSS itself is a creation of law and cannot continue to act as if it is above the law.

“Just last week, news came in that a 21 year old lady has been in illegal detention for over 67 days. Glory Okolie was arrested for being friends with IPOB members! What could be more illegal? What could be more vexing? What could be more scandalous? 

“After outrage by civil society organizations, human rights lawyers and concerned citizens, the Police shamelessly made a fruitlessly long press statement; making exculpatory explanation of the gross violation of human rights. The Police cannot explain itself out of this messy show of impunity. Whatever the alleged crime of Glory was, she is entitled to fair trial and treatment”. 

“Under the 1999 Constitution, you cannot detain a citizen beyond 24 or 48 hours. Failure to charge Glory to court within 48 hours of her arrest made her incarceration unlawful and unconstitutional. My position is fortified my the sacred provision of Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution. Sadly, the Police, who are empowered to ensure law and order, are notorious for observing the law in breach. This madness must stop if we want a peaceful country.

“Recall that I shared story about my client, Mr. Akintunde Muraina, who was unjustifiably arrested, tortured to the point of death, and released two weeks after ransom was paid. About a year after, he is yet to recover from the cruel dehumanization, trauma and abuse. Yes, the madness will certainly be challenged in the court of law, the solace of the oppressed. But, the fatal encroachment of human rights and dignity shouldn’t have occurred in the first place”.

Hear me: This house we all live in is on fire and we are keeping quiet as though fire is the sweetest thing ever. Without doubt, our country has gone to the dogs and it has never been this worse. 

“The regime of Buhari must desist from attacking human rights and civil liberties. You cannot continue setting the dignity of citizens on fire by hiding under the pretext of fighting IPOB members. This calculated attack on Easterners must stop! Human rights are too expensive to be toyed with in this barbaric manner”.

“And I begin to wonder why the same Buhari regime that derives joy in detaining suspected IPOB members without lawful justification is the same that treats Boko-Haram members with respect, courtesy and love”.

Our country remains a risk unless and until we learn to respect human rights, rule of law and the basic tenets of social justice.

Festus Ogun 

Lawyer and human rights activist

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