Recently, social media has been awash with the sad and shocking news of the disappearance and detention of a 22 years old young Nigerian lady of Igbo extraction, Gloria Okolie by the Nigeria Police Authority.
The news at first elicited a mild interest from JLAA Headquarters as the information were coming in trickles and not detailed. However, about an hour ago or thereabouts, the Nigeria Police Authority released a press statement regarding the Gloria Okolie situation.
The statement by the Police raises serious issue of doubts, abuse and violation of the fundamental human rights of young Gloria Okolie. Indeed, the press statement raises serious concern that the possibility that Gloria Okolie’s detention may be tantamount to derogation of the country’s human rights under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) and the nation’s obligations under international law.
What made the Gloria Okolie detention such a travesty – and what still makes it such – is that it is a system of indefinite detention whereby human beings are put in cages for months and months and in this instant cases for more than 72 days without ever being charged with a crime.
It is not only a derogation of constitutional rights but a negation and gross abdication of Nigeria’s obligations under international law and a wanton perversion of all civilise norms.
JLAA finds it extremely hypocritical that the Police is investigating Gloria Okolie for a ‘crime’ while keeping her away from lawyers, her parents and even giving her the opportunity to have her day in court.
The Nigerian Police and the Nigeria government is flagrantly violating even the most basic norms of human rights – such as indefinite detention without charges, denial of fair trials and, most importantly, torture.
There are far greater crimes at play here than the crimes for which she is merely being SUSPECTED of committing.
In view of the above, JLAA has resolved to initiate a court action at the Federal High Court in the coming days to assert and vigorously defend the fundamental human rights of this young lady.
We will keep you all posted as the drama unfolds….
Kingsley Ughe, General Counsel, JLAA.