The Conference of Nigerian Intellectuals in the United States has drawn the international community’s attention to alleged human rights violations against Godwin Emefiele, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor.
The group expressed displeasure at the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which handles the head of Apex Bank.
Recall that the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja last Tuesday commenced the trial of Emefiele, with three witnesses exonerating him of wrongdoings in the award of N1.2 billion vehicle supply contracts by CBN under him.
In a statement signed by Philips Idris, President of the Conference of Nigerian Intellectuals in the US described Emefiele’s continuous detention as illegal, wicked, and fiendish.
Quoting Article 9 of the United Nations Human Rights, Idris said: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”
He noted that the International Law of Human Rights obligates governments to act in certain ways or refrain from certain acts to promote and protect individuals’ or groups’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.
But Idris said there’s been serial abuse of the rule of law and disregard for the freedom and rights of innocent Nigerians since the new administration came on board, citing Emefiele as a case study.
“We have watched with concern and, indeed, consternation the relentless persecution of Godwin Emefiele. Emefiele is currently being sequestered and shackled like a common criminal in Nigeria.
“Several court orders had been secured for his release, but the EFCC and DSS serially and flagrantly disobeyed them. Judging by the ferocity with which Emefiele is being pursued, it seems someone wants him dead.
“His traducers are willing to break any law of the land and dehumanized to punish him for carrying out his statutory duties during his time as governor of CBN.
“He has been denied his freedom and basic rights against both the domestic and international human rights laws. Article 9 of the United Nations Human Rights states that ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
“As concerned citizens in the diaspora, we have decided to draw the attention of the international community to the new reign of terror back home. Our dear country seems to be heading back to dictatorship.
“We are by this statement urging the Nigerian government to do the right thing: free Emefiele. We are also warning the EFCC not to erode the international community’s confidence in doing business with us as a nation by violating the fundamental rights of perceived opponents of the Asiwaju Administration.
“Should this plea fall on deaf ears, we will be staging a peaceful protest in the USA and another by our sister organisation in London on Monday (next week)”.