Nigeria: Families demand release of detained relatives over IPOB Claims

Nigeria: Family Members and relatives of 24 allegedly detained members of the legally prohibited group, the IPOB, demand their release. 

Family Members and relatives of 24 alleged members of the legally prohibited group, Indigenous People of Biafra or the IPOB, stormed to the national capital of Nigeria to demand their release after they were detained by the government of Nigeria. 

The family and relatives of the 24 detained members of IPOB reached Abuja on Monday, October 17, 2022. 

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Nnaemeka Ejiofor, the IPOB leader’s lawyer, Nnamdi Kanu, also accompanied the aggrieved family and relatives. 

The lawyer spoke to the media at a press conference on behalf of the families. Here, he revealed that State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigerian Army held the detainees captive.

The lawyer has stated that many detained individuals are victims of arbitrary arrest and detention. He added that they “have become victims of enforced disappearance from the custody of Nigeria’s secret police and the army.”

He revealed to the media that a member of the (leader of the IPOB) legal team Pius Awoke, was abducted by SSS operatives. This incident allegedly occurred while returning from Abuja to his base in Ebonyi State last year.

The lawyer also listed the names of other detainees, including Ikechukwu Henry, Joy Godwin Udoh, Emeka Ngonadi, Chinedu Nwoba, Igwe Johnson Dike, Ogbonna Ajah, Kingsley Onovu, Ogbonna David, Kenneth Ojima, Fortune Okezie, Joseph Okafor Eze, Emmanuel Onyibe Chinonso and Uket Godwin.

According to the lawyer, Ejiofor, the detainee list comprises men and women. The Federal Government of Nigeria accused all these people of belonging to IPOB.

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Further, the legal representative stated that the whereabouts of these individuals remain unknown.

Ejiofor narrated the circumstances of (the detainee) arrests. He stated, “Mr Awoke and 10 of his colleagues were amongst those who came from Ebonyi State, eastern Nigeria, to witness the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on July 26 2021.”

After proceedings, Awoke and others boarded two vehicles back to Ebonyi State only to be intercepted by a Navy unit stationed in Lokoja, Kogi State.

According to the lawyer, they stopped at the checkpoint for more than five hours. Later, a team of the SSS came to take them back to Abuja.

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