Whereabouts of Cameroonian separatist leaders arrested in Nigeria unknown

Nigeria U.N. struggle to deal with 15,000 Cameroonian refugees

Nigeria U.N. struggle to deal with 15,000 Cameroonian refugees

"Similarly, by denying them access to their lawyers the fundamental right of our clients to fair-hearing has been breached by the State Security Service without any legal justification".

He demanded for their release within 48 hours or be charged to court, saying "if our clients are not released from illegal custody or arraigned in court within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter we shall not hesitate to apply to the Federal High Court to secure the enforcement of their fundamental rights to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004". In addition to Professor Awasom, those arrested are Mr. Julius Ayuk Tabe, Mr. Wilfred Tassang, Dr. Nfor Ngala Nfor, Dr. Cornelius Kwanga; Dr. Henry Kimeng, Mr. Elias Eyambe, Mr. Nalova Bih, Dr. Ojong Okongo and Dr. Fidelis Nde Che.

In a petition to the Inspector-General of Police dated January 11, Mr. Falana said his efforts as well as that of the family members of the arrested persons to visit them in custody had been unsuccessful.

The only exception is Professor Augustine Awasom, who is a United States citizen.

The Representative held meetings with state government and traditional leaders, and he expressed UNHCR's commitment to work closely with local authorities to provide assistance to the Cameroonian refugees without neglecting the host communities.

Since October past year, UNHCR has seen a steady increase in the number of people predominately from Cameroon's Anglophone region who have fled their homes for their own safety to Cross River and Benue states in Nigeria.

He said from the said number, 8100 are camped in Cross River State while the other 4000 are in Benue State.

While the lawyers said they have confirmed from the Government of Cameroon that it requested the Federal Government to repatriate the activists, they said they are confident that the request will be rejected because there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

In the letter signed by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the lawyers maintained that the agitators are not illegal immigrants in Nigeria, as some of them have been granted political asylum by the Federal Government while others have valid permanent resident status in Nigeria.

He said that some of them came into the country through community close to them, stating that the most affected states were Taraba, Benue, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.

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