The recent manhunt for our client, Ifere Paul, by the Cross River State Government is highly condemnable.
The clamp down on critics of Ayade is also otiose.
We have petitioned the Inspector General of Police, we are also heading to Court to enforce his Fundamental Human Right.
And we have also taken a step in alerting the international community of this heinous rampage against democracy going on in Cross River State.
We have written to 26 Embassies and High Commissions; below is the letter written to the American Embassy:
The Ambassador, Embassy of the United States of America
RE: FLAGRANT DISREGARD FOR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS, CLAMPING DOWN ON BLOGGERS, CRITICS AND MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY BY THE CROSS RIVER STATE GOVERNMENT
We are Legal Practitioners and Advocates to Ifere Paul, hereinafter referred to as our client and on whose instructions we write to you.
Our client is a social and political commentator who is known to be a consistent and avid critic of the Governor and government of Cross River State, writing several articles, published on several online, social media and main print media platforms.
His activities which are constitutional has apparently irked the governor and government of Cross River State to the point where they have resorted to plain intimidation, abuse of power and flagrant attempt to abuse functions of the police by using them to cower our client.
On the 19th of July 2016, the Attorney General of Cross River State, while addressing a press conference instructed the Police to declare our client wanted in connection to the incessant robbery and kidnapping that has bedevilled the State in recent times.
This was broadcasted on African Independent Television the following day.
Our Client has received several death threats because he criticises the Government of Cross River State and recently we got information that the government want his mobile phone confiscated at all cost so as to get information about his sources of information about happenings in Government House.
The only ‘‘crime’’ of our client is that he has been exercising his fundamental human right of freedom of expression to inform the public, through his updates on social media and several blogs of the said incessant kidnappings and robbery, which is already public knowledge in the state.
We are calling your attention to this development in Cross River State, because we are aware of the role your country and the rest of the western world played in bringing about democratic rule in Nigeria and enshrining the hallowed Fundamental Human Rights in our Constitution.
That most cherished right to freedom of expression is in danger of annihilation today in Cross River State.
Those who criticise the Government, those who air contrary views to that held by the Government, those who are members of the opposition party are now endangered species.
The United States of America has never been known to stand by and do nothing at a time like this.
As we take up the case of our client to enforce his Fundamental Human Rights in our courts, we also call upon you to do your investigation and lend your voice against the tyranny that has been let loose by the Benedict Ayade-led, Peoples Democratic Government in Cross River State.
In a multi-party democracy the Police Force should not be allowed to be used as a tool to settle political scores and intimidate political opponents who are ordinary Nigerians, whose views are contrary to the views of our super Governors and their aides and cronies.
A governor who has failed to motivate and work with the police in his state to fight crime should not be allowed to use the same police force to harass ordinary citizens, just because they wrote or report such crimes.
A governor or government that has made every effort and used every opportunity to make the police look bad in the discharge of their duties cannot be allowed to use the same police force to settle political scores.
Our client has written several petitions to the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, etc.
In his bid to expose the corruption, nepotism and crass incompetence going on in the Cross River State government under the leadership of Senator Benedict Ayade.
Thus, it is only logical that this call by the Attorney General of Cross River State, to declare our client wanted for purported robbery and kidnapping is calculated to kill these petitions.
This cannot be allowed to happen.
Politicians cannot be allowed to use the police force as a puppet for their political games.
If every person who reports on kidnapping and robbery is declared wanted by the police, then every journalist, blogger and most citizens will be declared wanted for heinous crimes they know nothing about.
Our client is a known writer and critic, whose location is known at any point in time.
He deserves an award and commendation from the Cross River State Government for reporting on the activities of robbers and kidnappers in the State; a commendation he has been getting from members of the public.
Sir, you are humbly requested to use your office to ensure that the United States of America lend its voice against the abuse of the Fundamental Human Rights, the clamp down on the freedom of expression and the wanton arrest of critics going on in Cross River State.
F. Baba Isa, Esq.
pp: Obono, Obono & Associates