A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has given the Department of State Services 48 hours to either release the 10 Cameroonian separatists in custody or take them to court.
The senior advocate said this in a letter addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
Falana added that if the DSS failed to act, he would approach a court and demand for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights.
He said, “Take notice therefore that if our clients are not released from illegal custody or arraigned in court within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter we shall not hesitate to apply to the Federal High Court to secure the enforcement of their fundamental rights to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Falana noted that the 10 Cameroonians-Mr. Julius Tabe, Mr. Wilfred Tassang, Dr. Nfor Nfor, Prof. Augustine Awasom, Dr. Cornelius Kwanga, Dr. Henry Kimeng, Elias Eyambe, Nalova Bih, Dr. Ojong Okongo and Dr. Fidelis Che – came into Nigeria legally.
Falana, therefore, described their arrest by the DSS as illegal.
He added, “Our clients are the leaders of the movement agitating for the creation of the Republic of Ambazonia in Cameroon. Our clients are not illegal immigrants in Nigeria as some of them have been granted political asylum by the Federal Government while others have valid permanent resident status in Nigeria apart from Prof. Augustine Awasom who is a United States citizen.
“Our clients were assembled for a meeting at Nera Hotel, Abuja on Saturday, January 6, 2018. However, before the commencement of the meeting a team of armed operatives of the State Security Service invaded the venue, abducted our clients and took them away to an undisclosed place. “
The lawyer said by not disclosing information on the abduction to the relatives of the Cameroonians, the DSS violated section 6 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which imposes a duty on any authority having custody of a suspect to notify the next of kin or relative of the suspect of the arrest at no cost to the suspect.