Human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to release 40 suspects currently being detained by the Nigerian Navy.
Falana in a letter to the President said the suspects have been held incommunicado by the Navy for about eight months.
He said this was wrong, arguing that what the Navy needed to do was to charge the suspects to court.
He urged the President to order the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas to release the eight suspects or charge them to court without delay.
He argued that the suspects are entitled to their fundamental human rights under sections 34 and 35 of the Nigerian Constitution.
Among those detained by the Navy according to Falana are Captain Dada Labinjo, Lt. Commander Sherifat Ibe Lambert, Benjamin Gold, Peter Pulle, Pius Paul, Onoja Reuben, Adeleke Adewale, Labinjo Kehinde, Ogunmoyero Oluwasehun, Emmanuel Oputa, Innocent Sunday, Lejoro Friday, Hamza Yakubu, Segun Yusuf, Master-Melvin Jack ; Chief Mate-Adebayo Mayoma, Chief Mate- Francis Oneyema, Godwill Umoh, Bosin-Miebaka Iyala and Edu Fidelis.
Others include Richard David, Daniel Harrison, Asaiki Okeoghene, Omogoye Bolaji, Victor Uchendu, Oloyede Ademola, Oiler-Simon Onyisi Mike, Udom Victor Jerome, Godwin Etiaka Ojodusi, Sixtus Ganabel, Owei Ukuto, Jeremiah Victor, Collins Joel, Augustine Omonisa, MV Akemijo Deborah, Mike Simeon, Umoren Daniel, James Archibong, Umon Godswill Emmanuel and MT Adeline Jumbo.
According to the letter, “We have received complaints from the family members of 40 Nigerian citizens who are being detained without trial on the orders of the authorities of the Nigerian Navy.
“It may interest Your Excellency to know that the above-named detainees have 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 five of them before a court-martial.”