DSS breaching Niger Delta peace process, says IYC

Eric Omare
Eric Omare

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide yesterday accused the Department of State Security (DSS) of breaching the Federal Government’s peace process in the Niger Delta region by its continuous detention of some Niger Delta people without trial.

IYC, in a statement by its factional President, Eric Omare, said it was unlawful for the DSS to keep some persons it arrested from the region in its custody for a long time without arraignment.

Omare added that during the fact-finding and confidence-building mission of the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the people of the region made a case for the release of persons in detention following renewed militancy in the Niger Delta.

He said the government promised to look into the request and to release some of the detained Niger Delta people.

He said: “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,  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  Torugbedi (alias Young Shall Grow) from DSS custody.

“However, almost a year after the order was made, the DSS is still holding Torugbedi in custody despite the fact that they were represented in court by a lawyer, O. J. Odu.

“The DSS has extended same treatment to Ijaw activist,  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”.

Insisting that the conduct of the DSS amounted to a breach of the Niger Delta peace process, he said the persons in detention were arrested in connection with the Niger Delta agitations.

He said that since the government had decided to adopt a negotiated settlement of the Niger Delta agitation, the detained persons should be released as part of the peace process.

He added: “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,  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”.