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Falana writes IGP, demands release of 10 ‘abducted’ South Cameroonian leaders

Mr. Femi Falana (SAN)
Lagos lawyer and activist, Mr. Femi Falana, has written to the Inspector General of Police, demanding the release from detention, or arraignment before a court of law, of ten leaders of Southern Cameroon who are agitating for the creation of an independent English-speaking country to be known as Ambazonia from French-speaking Cameroon.

In the letter, made available to Global Patriot Newspapers, Falana said that the Southern Cameroonian leaders were abducted from a hotel in Abuja where they were having a meeting by the State Security Service.

Full text of letter reads:

11th January, 2018

The Inspector General of Police,

Police Headquarters,

Louis Edet House,

Abuja.

REQUEST TO INVESTIGATE THE ABDUCTION OF SOUTHERN CAMEROONIAN LEADERS AT ABUJA BY THE STATE SECURITY SERVICE

We are solicitors to the 10 Cameroonian citizens whose names and status are set out below:-

1. Mr. Julius Ayuk Tabe;

2. Mr. Wilfred Tassang;

3. Dr. Nfor Ngala Nfor;

4. Professor Augustine Awasom;

5. Dr. Cornelius Kwanga;

6. Dr. Henry Kimeng;

7. Elias Eyambe Esq;

8. Nalova Bih Esq;

9. Dr. Ojong Okongo;

10. Dr. Fidelis Nde Che;

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 Professor 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 said abduction was reported by the Premium Times edition of Sunday, January 7, 2018. In spite of the detailed report of the credible online news medium the State Security Service has denied knowledge of the abduction of our clients. Consequently, all efforts made by the counsel and family members of our clients to visit them in custody have proved abortive.

You will agree with us that by not disclosing information on the abduction to the relatives of our clients the State Security Service has violated section 6 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which has imposed 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. Similarly, by denying them access to their lawyers the fundamental right of our clients to fair hearing has been breached by the State Security Service without any legal justification.

Although we have confirmed that the Government of Cameroon has requested the Federal Government to repatriate our clients to Cameroon we are confident that the Federal Government will not accede to such request since there is no extradition treaty between the two countries. In the circumstance, the Federal Government ought to release our clients unconditionally.

In view of the foregoing, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to investigate the circumstances of the abduction of the Cameroonian leaders by the State Security Service and any other security agency involved in the embarrassing episode. However, if the Federal Government has evidence of the involvement of our clients in any criminal offence whatsoever the Attorney General of the Federation should be directed to arraign them in a properly constituted court without any further delay.

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.

While assuring you our cooperation in the investigation of the abduction of our clients please accept the assurances of our highest esteem and regards.

Yours sincerely,

FEMI FALANA ESQ, SAN, FCI Arb.

About Global Patriot Staff

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