African Bar Association issues statement following recent arrest of Ambazonian leaders
Unlawful arrest /abduction of Cameroonian refugees by Nigerian Security agents
On behalf of the African Bar Association, I write to bring to your esteemed attention and to formally protest the unlawful arrest and abduction of scores of Cameroonian refugees resident in Nigeria by Security agents believed to be from the department of State Security, the Military intelligence or other security organs of the Nigerian State.
Information of this unfortunate incident which reportedly occurred in Abuja on Saturday was made available to the African Bar Association by some of the refugees who witnessed the abduction and managed to escape .
Honourable Attorney -General Sir, it may interest you to know that most of the abductees are Lawyers and registered members of our Association.
Furthermore, these individuals had their privacy invaded and whisked away without a warrant or any explanation at all and taken into custody at an unknown location.
Needless to say that the political problems in the Republic of Cameroon are notorious and in the domain of the international Community with the attendant consequences.
We make bold to say that Nigeria as a respectable and responsible member of the international community has Legal obligations under the United Nations Convention on Refugees, the African Charter on human and people’s rights and several other international and local legislations that gives rights to refugees and other endangered civilian Nationals of other Nations which must be taken into account at all times as Nigeria has obligations to protect these rights.
If the motive for these unlawful acts is to return the refugees to Cameroon, then Nigeria would be violating international Law that forbids Countries from returning refugees to the Countries they are fleeing from.
Cameroon right now is in total chaos with wide spread state sponsored terrorism, political persecution, intimidation, mass rape and murder particularly against the citizens of the Southern part of that Country which has led many to flee the dictatorship there to temporarily reside in Nigeria and other Countries within and outside the African Continent. It may interest you to know sir that Afba has been working hard with other likeminded Continental and international bodies to see that this crisis is resolved and normalcy returns to Cameroon but so far the Government of that Country has prefered Facism and Gestapo tactics to dialogue.
Sir, the African Bar Association as a responsible Professional Association cannot sit by and allow this type of situation to stand where Security operatives under whatever guise or directives violate Human Rights and international Law especially of members of our esteemed Association .
In the circumstances, the African Bar Association demands as follows :
(1)immediate release of all those abducted by Security agents of the Nigerian State.
(2)apology and adequate compensation to these innocent individuals for these grave legal infractions and
(3) thorough investigation into the circumstances which led to this unfortunate incident and adequate punishment for those found culpable.
While we trust in the ability and speedy attention of your good office to meeting these Lawful demands, we shall however not hesitate to approach the Local and international Courts to seek Legal redress if this matter is not resolved with the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, please accept the assurances of the cooperation and high considerations of the African Bar Association.
Hannibal .E. Uwaifo
African Bar Association
8 Ribadu Road, S/W Ikoyi,