Image: Maazi E Ezeoke, President Igbo Ekunie
*And the killing of unarmed pro-Biafran protesters
We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprised of individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora, alarmed at the continuing extra-judicial detention of Nnamdi Kanu in a constitutional democracy, are constrained to intervene once again.
We hereby warn of the dangerous slide to dictatorship, tyranny and human rights violations which the continuing extra-judicial detention of Nnamdi Kanu by the DSS and Buhari administration portends.
Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on the 17th of October by the Nigerian Department of State Services, and according his to his lawyer Vincent Obetta he has met his bail condition.
His lawyer has described his continued detention despite meeting the bail conditions "a clash between judiciary and executive”.
This implies that the Nigerian Presidency is undemocratically detaining Nnamdi Kanu against his fundamental human right, which clearly undermines the basic concept of separation of power in a democratic government.
At the minimum, democracy by its ideological meaning and constitutional statute, guarantees for all citizens their fundamental rights under the full dictates of the rule of law.
It then beggars belief that an administration that came to power on the basis of a constitutional democracy and its attendant principles of the rule of law would descend in less than 6 months into wanton human rights violations.
This, thus, desecrates the very constitutional principles with which it rode to power through the harassment and detention of several individuals and in particular Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who, having fulfilled all his bail conditions since the 20th of October, remains illegally detained by the DSS despite subsequent court orders.
It should be noted, that the crude resort to harassment, killing of unarmed protesters and the illegal detention of citizens in violation of court orders constitutes an assault on our democracy and betrays the sacrifices made by the many who lost their lives in the struggle to return Nigeria to constitutional democracy based on the rule of law.
Indeed, it is even more incriminating and self-defeatist for the Buhari administration whose main campaign message/manifesto was anchored on the promise of bringing positive change in all facets of national life.
Extra-judicial detentions, harassment and other human rights violations cannot in the least represent change, for those belong to the sordid and harrowing past the nation struggled to escape from by opting and struggling for constitutional democracy.
We maintain that the underlying drivers of Nnamdi Kanu’s separatist activism are the undeniable contradictions, structural imbalance, marginalisation and injustices in the system which should be resolved through the implementation of the 2014 National Conference report and the hosting of further dialogues to continue the process of consultation and nation building.
We hereby call on the African Union, United Nation, and European Union to beckon on the Federal Government of Nigeria to end its abdication of the rule of law and immediately release Nnamdi Kanu, all other detained activists, and also stop further killing of unarmed Pro-Biafran protesters.
At a time the nation needs to be making progress on all fronts, the resort to human right violations by the administration not only sends a wrong signal to the international community, it evidently indicates a dangerous slide into dictatorship that is contradictory to the spirit and letters of a constitutional democracy.
While Igbo Ekunie cannot understand the rationale behind a country that is willing to negotiate with a terror group (Boko Haram) on the one hand, while shooting and killing peaceful protesters with live ammunition on the other hand.
We thus demand that the government respect the rule of law and accordingly uphold the fundamental rights of all citizens.
In that regards, we restate our call for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu and all other detained activists and to put a stop to the killing of unarmed activists and pro-Biafran protesters.
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke
President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative
+44 (0)774 861 2933, Twitter @MaaziEzeoke