Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has called for the release of 40 Nigerians illegally detained by the Navy in its facilities in Lagos State.
Falana, in a letter to the executive secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Abuja, yesterday, urged the commission to request the release of the 40 citizens from illegal custody.
In the letter obtained by The Guardian, the rights activist regretted the failure of the commission to sanction the naval authority in exercise of its powers under the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act, 2010, though the authorities ignored his previous request to respond to a petition concerning the illegal detention without trial.
Falana, who attached the names of 67 detainees at NNS Beecroft Cell, Apapa and inside a Vessel at Marina, Lagos, also urged the commission to visit the detention facilities to release the detainees or direct the Navy to arraign them in appropriate courts, if found liable.
He also threatened to sue for inter-agency solidarity, if it failed or refused to accede to the request within seven days of the receipt of the letter.
According to him, though the Navy had publicly denied the detention of any person in any of its cells, some of the detainees were released or transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which filed charges against them at the Federal High Court.
The former president of West African Bar Association (WABA) stressed that the illegal detention of several Nigerians and foreigners by the Navy had exposed the country to ridicule before the comity of nations.
“The Swiss government has filed a suit against the Federal Government in Zurich over the detention of a vessel and its crew of four Ukrainians by the Navy for the past 18 months,”