Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Rivers State has decried the detention of Barrister Jeff Geoffrey Ikechi Esq and Ekele Onuah by the Nigerian Police for over two months without trial.
In a joint press release by Lawyers Watch for Justice International Initiative(LAWJII),Human Right, Social Development and Environmental(HURSDEF),Civil Liberties Organization(CLO) Global Rights Foundation for Peace, and Civil Rights Council(CRC) ,the CSOs lamented the gross disregard for rule of law, abuse of court process, unlawful arrest and detention of Geoffrey Ikechi-Jeff and Ekele Onuah both of whom have been unlawfully arrested and detained by the Nigerian Police Force since 17th and 19th days of February,2020,respectively.
The CSOs in the statement read by Gbenga Oladapo of LAWJII on behalf of the group explained that Geoffrey Ikechi-Jeff Esq and Ekele Onuah were arrested and taken to Abuja at the alleged instance of one Dandison O. Onuah,Christain Ile and other collaborators for daring to accept the request by a Family in Ubima,Rivers State for Ikechi –Jeff to represent them as the Community Liason Officer(CLO) to All Grace Energy Limited/Wester Ord Oil and Gas Limited(joint venture)
The CSOs coalition chronicled the unlawful arrest and detention of Geoffrey Ikechi –Jeff to include:
His arrest and detention at Elele Divisional Police headquarters on the 9thday of September,2019,his transfer to State Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) and subsequent transfer from SARS to State Criminal Investigation Department(SCID) where he was granted bail by the Deputy Commissioner incharge of SCID.
The group explained that Geoffrey Ikechi immediately after his release filed an action in court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights with suit number PHC/3741/2019 and dated 31st October,2019 which is presently pending in the high court of Rivers State before honourable Justice W.A Chechey
The group revealed that on the 17th and 19th days of February 2020 respectively.the duo of Geoffrey Ikechi Jeff and Ekele Onuah were both arrested and detained in Force headquarters Abuja and were later remanded at Keffi prison on 24th February,2020 based on the order obtained from Magistrate court 1,Karu LGA,in Nassarawa state.
The group said the remand order was quashed by the same court who granted same on the 11th day of March,2020 and declined jurisdiction to handle the case .
The Civil Society Organizations disclosed that Geoffrey Ikechi Jeff and Ekele Onuah was again remanded based on another remand order obtained from upper Area Court,New Karu,Nassarawa State where they were transferred to SCID,Port Harcourt on 21st day of March,2020 and are about to be transferred back to Abuja by the Police Officers from the Federal Capital Territory who was said to have sneaked into the state despite the shutdown by the Government of Rivers State of Nigeria.
The group further decried the abuse of court process and lack of due diligence in the investigation of the case by the Nigeria Police Force and used the medium to call on the Executive Governor of Rivers State,the Inspector General of Police,The Rivers State Commissioner of Police,The National Human Rights Commission,Civil Society Organizations and all well meaning Nigerians to promptly intervene in the matter to ensure Justice is served.
The group demanded the immediate release of Geoffrey Ikechi-Jeff Esq and Ekele Onuah and concerned Police officers to be called to order.
The press release was signed by Gbenga Oladapo Esq of LAWJII,Justine Ijeoma of HURSDEF,Styvn Obodoekwe of CLO,Samuel Robinson of Global Rights Foundation for Peace,Prince Wiro of CRC,Tom Charles Nwoke and Ogbowu Ikechukwu Richard.