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Rights group demands immediate release of Kenechukwu Okoroeze from DSS detention

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly condemned alleged unlawful detention of Prince Kenechukwu Okoroeze by the Department of State Security Service (DSS), despite a valid and subsisting court judgment in suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/62/2022 ordering his immediate release.

HURIWA, in a statement signed by by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Wednesday, acknowledged receiving a letter from the legal representatives of Okoroeze, detailing the circumstances surrounding his arrest and subsequent detention by the DSS since October 11, 2021.

“In a compelling plea for justice, legal representatives of Mrs. Perpetua Adaora Okoroeze, spouse of Prince Kenechukwu Okoroeze, highlighted the prolonged and unlawful detention of Prince Kenechukwu Okoroeze by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) since October 11, 2021. Despite a Federal High Court judgment in suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/62/2022 ordering his immediate release, the DSS has yet to comply till date”, HURIWA informed.

In response to this troubling situation, HURIWA issued a scathing statement, denouncing the DSS’s reported blatant disregard for the rule of law and the sanctity of court decisions.

The organization emphasized that the disobedience of a binding court ruling undermines Nigeria’s democratic principles and judicial independence, tarnishing the country’s image on the international stage, and reducing Nigeria to a banana republic.

According to HURIWA, the continued detention of Okoroeze despite the court’s order is a clear violation of his fundamental human rights, as enshrined in Sections 33, 34, and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).

The civil rights advocacy group emphasized the need for the DSS to adhere to the rule of law and respect the decisions of a court of competent jurisdiction.

Moreover, HURIWA demanded that President Bola Tinubu, as the head of the executive arm of government, and as a president that took an oath of office to abide by the sacred provisions of the Constitution, to intervene immediately and order the DSS to comply with the court’s judgment by releasing Okoroeze.

The organization highlighted that failure to do so would further erode confidence in Nigeria’s justice system and exacerbate human rights violations perpetrated by state actors.

In support of its call for Prince Kenechukwu Okoroeze’s release, HURIWA cited relevant international human rights laws and conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is a signatory. The organization underscored the importance of upholding these principles to safeguard the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their status or circumstances.

Furthermore, HURIWA announced its intention to escalate the matter to the United Nations Human Rights Council, seeking international intervention to ensure justice for Okoroeze and accountability for the DSS’s actions.

The organization stressed the urgency of the situation and called on all stakeholders, both domestic and international, to join forces in advocating for Prince Kenechukwu Okoroeze’s immediate release.

Furthermore, amidst these developments, HURIWA highlighted recent discussions at the UN Member Nations’ Feedback on Nigeria’s Human Rights record during the country’s 45th Universal Periodic Review (UPR 45).

“While some nations acknowledged Nigeria’s efforts to address human rights issues, several others raised concerns about accountability, protection of vulnerable groups, and adherence to international human rights standards”.

HURIWA echoed these concerns by UN member nations and underlined the need for Nigeria to take concrete actions to improve accountability, protect human rights, and uphold the rule of law.

The organization warned that the continued detention of Okoroeze despite a court order undermines Nigeria’s credibility on the global stage and threatens the country’s democratic institutions.

In conclusion, HURIWA reaffirmed its commitment to defending human rights and holding government agencies accountable.

The organization called on President Tinubu and the DSS to prioritize the rule of law and respect for human rights by immediately releasing Okoroeze and ensuring justice and fairness for all Nigerians.

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