HURIWA Wants United Nations To Visit Nnamdi Kanu In DSS Cell

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Prominent Civil rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is worried by the reports and allegations made by the detained leader of the now proscribed INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of undergoing torture in the detention facility run by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Following these persistent and recurring complaints by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of his maltreatment in the cells of the Department of State Services which has been denied by the DSS, the United Nations through her Country Representative has been urged to pay a monitoring visitation to the detention facility of the DSS to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of these consistent complaints by the leader of IPOB.

HURIWA said that even as the Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja, ordered the Department of State Services to allow the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to change his clothes, there are allegations that this not been observed and that he is also facing starvation, so says head of his legal team and human rights activist, Ifeanyi Ejiofor.

The Rights group quoted Mr. Ejiofor as saying these in a statement issued after the routine visit to the DSS Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday evening.

He said, “In line with the court-ordered guideline, we conducted the routine visit to our indefatigable client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at the DSS Headquarters today (Thursday).

“Pertinent concerns on legal matters of engaging urgency were frankly discussed with Onyendu, and the outcomes were fruitful.

“Onyendu’s continued use of same clothing is increasingly worrisome as the DSS personnel have blatantly denied him change of clothing in their usual flagrant disobedience of court orders.”

Ejiofor noted that at the last adjourned date, being April 8, 2022, the issue was raised and the Judge ordered that Onyendu’s clothes should be taken along by the DSS after the proceedings, and should be promptly handed over to him upon their return to the DSS facility.

But Ejiofor said, “Unfortunately, it is utterly disheartening to note that up until the time of our visit today, Onyendu has not been handed those clothes for a change.

“Despite a clear and unequivocal directive from His Lordship to the DSS’ lawyer to ensure that the court order is obeyed, the DSS in their usual style roundly ignored and treated it with utmost disdain, as they are yet to comply with this recurrent court order, requiring Onyendu’s change of clothing.

“We were also, reliably informed by Onyendu that his meals are no longer served regularly. Onyendu barely eats once a day, and this situation is not helping his deteriorating medical condition.

HURIWA said it was disconcerting that the DSS which is a creation of the law can deliberately flout the binding orders of a court of competent jurisdiction as alleged by the lawyers to the detainee, the Group is urging the United Nations, the European Union, the British High Commission to visit and inspect the situation of the detainee leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

Besides, HURIWA said under international human rights laws, regarding the rights to health and education of prisoners, the United Nations said implementing the Nelson Mandela Rules also involves providing legal assistance and advice to States and prisoners alike just as the body recalled that it is significant, given that the Protocol mandates United Nations experts to visit prisons to help improve conditions and prevent ill-treatment.

“Defending the absolute prohibition of torture has led us to work with other partners on an initiative aimed at developing a set of principles and safeguards on “non-coercive investigative interviewing” methods for police and other law enforcement agencies. It is widely recognized that using torture to extract information is both immoral and illegal. Less understood—despite the mass of evidence—is that such methods are also ineffective and indeed counter-productive for the simple reason that people undergoing torture are liable to say anything to stop the pain and humiliation, thereby frequently giving interrogators information that is wholly untrue. This can discredit the entire judicial and police processes in the country concerned, and also lead to the wrong people being convicted. The initiative currently being discussed is designed to bring as many law enforcement personnel as possible into the process to increase understanding about the sheer ineffectiveness of coercive interrogation.”

HURIWA said although it is aware that the DSS has on many occasions denied those sets of allegations made by the legal representatives of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu but the Rights group said the frequency of the complaints should merit a high profile visit by the International organisations in Nigeria such as the UN, European Union and World’s democracies such as the diplomatic officials from Embassies of powerful nations with representation in Nigeria.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator
29th April 2022.

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