October 1, 2022

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Groups seek release of Nigerian political detainees

A Coalition Of Civil Society, Workers And Human Rights Defenders has called on the Federal Government to release all political detainees across the country including the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

The coalition which stated this on Thursday, during the unveiling of its South-East headquarters in Enugu, urged the Federal Government to instead engage those detainees in constructive discourse instead of force of arm.

Addressing journalists shortly after conducting them around the offices, the Convener of the Coalition and President, International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative, Comrade Osmond Ugwu, lamented the impunity with which the government and security agencies abused human rights in Nigeria, with a lens on the South-East region.

Flanked by Secretary of the Coalition, Comrade Chukwudi Aniachuna, and other leaders, Ugwu said that human rights violations have increased exponentially in Nigeria after the national protest against police brutality codenamed #EndSARS rather than decreasing.

The coalition, however, asked the Enugu State government to make public the report of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry on #EndSARS, as well as a full implementation of the recommendation of the National Economic Council as regards the #EndSARS protests and mitigation of police brutality in Nigeria.

He said, “We once again wish to use this opportunity to call on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and his government to revisit the document we presented to him in November 2021 on about 16 fundamental issues affecting the people, workers and retired public servants in the state; the issues of impunity in the system and acting on the report of the representative of Civil Society in EndSARS-related Judicial Panel on Police Brutality and Other Related Extra-Judicial Killings.

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“He should make public the report of Administrative Panel on EndSARS, as well as full implementation of recommendation of National Economic Council as regards to EndSARS protests and mitigation of police brutality in Nigeria.

“We want the government to pay the seized salaries, allowances and benefits of 14 former legislators of the state House of Assembly that were unjustly seized by former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, during his regime, because of their opposition to his unjust policies during his regime.

“We want the governor to stop the abuse of fundamental human rights of residents of Enugu State through the unjustified hardship he imposed on the poor that do not have vehicles as a result of the ban on movement of Keke and commercial vehicles from 9 pm in the state capital among others.”

On the 2023 general election, the coalition urged Nigerians that they should not only ensure they obtained their Permanent Voter Cards and ensure they participate actively in the polls.

“We appreciate the interest being exhibited by the electorates this time in trying to get their PVC and urge every person of voting age to ensure that he or she gets a PVC, ensure they vote during elections, resist monitory inducement and intimidation during elections.

“They should also make sure that they vote according to their conscience and stay behind to endure that their votes are counted and results announced.

“We also call on the Nigerians to rise up to the challenges of ending electoral manipulations and merchandising of elective offices by politicians and exclusion of credible persons from contesting elective offices through the high cost of expression of interest forms,” Ugwu added.

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