Members of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) have written a protest letter to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbanjo, over the Department of State Security (DSS)’s alleged breach of the Peace accord reached with the people of the Niger Delta region.
According to IYC, the peace accord entails stoppage of attacks on the nation’s oil facility and the release of high profile suspects arrested from the region.
However, the group stated though the people of the region were consciously keeping their part of the bargain with the existing peace and increased in oil production, the continued detention of Niger Deltans in the custody of the DSS without trial amounted to a breach of the peace process.
The IYC, in a statement signed by its President, Eric Omare, said the continued detention of ex-militant leader, Sely Kile Torugbedi (alias Young Shall Grow); Ijaw activist, Daniel Ezekiel; the IYC Abuja chapter Spokesman, Alex Odogu; Yenagoa-based journalist, Jones Abiri; and some others despite various Court orders and without trail was provocative and triggering tension.
The protest letter reads in part: “it would be recall that during the fact finding and confidence building tour of the Niger Delta region by Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo, the people of the Niger Delta made a case for the release of those in detention in relation to the renewed militancy in the region and government promised to look into the case and indeed released some Niger Delta ex-agitators that were in detention.
”However, the DSS has continued to detain some other Niger Deltans and in some cases even when there is a court order directing that they be released.”
“The case of ex-militant leader, Mr. Sely Kile Torugbedi (alias Young Shall Grow) is most pathetic and unjust. The Federal High Court, Abuja presided over by the Honourable Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on the 5th of August, 2016 made an order for the immediate release of Mr. Torugbedi (alias Young Shall Grow) from DSS custody.
“However, almost a year after the order was made, the DSS is still holding Mr. Torugbedi in custody despite the fact that they were represented in court by a Legal Practitioner, O. J. Odu, Esq.
“The DSS has extended same treatment to Ijaw activist, Mr. Daniel Ezekiel where they have bluntly refused to attend court at the Federal High Court, Warri despite several hearing notices served on them at the DSS headquarters at Abuja.
“So many other Niger Deltans like IYC Abuja chapter Spokesman, Alex Odogu, Yenagoa based journalist, Jones Abiri and some others have been in detention for more than a year without trial.
”These persons were all arrested in connection with the Niger Delta agitations and since government has decided to adopt a negotiated settlement of the Niger Delta agitation, these persons ought to be released as part of the peace process. It even amounts to breach of trust for government to promise peaceful dialogue while at the same time unnecessarily keeping people in detention.
“The leaders of the Niger Delta region have done their part by restoring relative peace in the region and now it is up to the federal government to sustain it.
“Therefore, the IYC calls on Acting President, Yemi Osinbanjo to as a matter of urgency and in the interest of the Niger Delta peace process order the release of ex-militant leader, Mr. Sely Kile Torugbedi (alias Young Shall Grow), Ijaw activist: Daniel Ezekiel, IYC Abuja Spokesman: Alex Odogu, Jones Abiri and all other Niger Deltans in DSS custody in relation to the Niger Delta hostilities.
“Acting President, Yemi Osinbanjo should note that his reputation is on trial in the face of these violations of human rights as a law professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Nigerians and the international community are watching!”