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U.S. Govt Condemns ‘Arbitrary Arrests’ Of Godwin Emefiele And Nnamdi Kanu By DSS



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The United States Government has criticized the arbitrary arrests of Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), by security personnel in Nigeria.


In its ‘2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria,’ published Tuesday on the U.S. Department of State’s website, the U.S. highlighted concerns about lengthy pre-trial detention, denying detainees access to court, and frustrating the country’s judicial system.


The report revealed that in the prosecution of corruption cases, law enforcement and intelligence agencies did not always follow due process, resulting in the arrest of suspects without appropriate arrest and search warrants.


Regarding Emefiele’s case, the report detailed that he was detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) “for investigative reasons” on June 10.

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Although a Federal High Court in Lagos granted him bail on July 25, ordering him to be held at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre until bail was made, the DSS attempted to arrest him again, leading to a confrontation between DSS agents and Nigerian Correctional Service officers.


Similarly, Nnamdi Kanu, designated as a leader of a government-designated terrorist organization, IPOB, was detained by the DSS on national security grounds.


Despite being charged with treason, terrorism, and illegal possession of firearms, Kanu fled abroad in 2017 after skipping bail, only to be arrested and returned to Nigeria in 2021.


In 2022, an appeal court in Abuja dropped all charges against Kanu and ordered his release, but the federal government appealed.

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The Supreme Court overturned the appeals court ruling on December 15, stating that Kanu faced terrorism charges despite acknowledging rights violations during his arrest and extradition. Kanu remained incarcerated at the year’s end.


The report also highlighted challenges within Nigeria’s judicial system, including a shortage of trial judges, trial backlogs, endemic corruption, bureaucratic inertia, and undue political influence.


It said delays in cases were exacerbated by logistical issues, such as the need for more vehicles to transport detainees to court and authorities losing case files.


Overall, the U.S. expressed concerns about Nigeria’s judicial system’s inadequacies, emphasizing the need for fair and transparent legal processes to uphold human rights.

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