Release Cameroonian Separatists Now – falana Tells FG

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has
called on the Federal Government to immediately
release the seven Cameroonian separatists that
were arrested by the Department of State Services
in Abuja on Saturday.
Falana said in a statement that the arrested
freedom fighters — Mr. Sikiku Tabe, Prof. Che
Awasum, Mr. Nalowa Bih, Dr. Fidelis Che, Dr. Nfor
Nfor, Dr. Henri Kumeng and Dr. Cornelius Kwanga
— who are calling for the secession of the
Southern region of Cameroon, entered Nigeria
legally and thus should not be treated as criminals.
He said the agitators, who are calling for the
creation of the independent state of Ambazonia,
had been held incommunicado and denied access
to their lawyers, doctors and relatives contrary to
the provisions of the United Nations Minimum
Standards for the Treatment of Prisoners.
Falana said, “Since the Cameroonians entered
Nigeria legitimately their arrest and detention by
the Federal Government cannot be justified under
the law. As Africans, the detainees are entitled to
human rights to personal liberty, freedom of
association and freedom of expression guaranteed
by the Nigerian constitution.
“Furthermore, their unquestionable and inalienable
right to self-determination is protected by article
20 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples
Rights which has been ratified by both Nigeria and
The human rights lawyer urged the Attorney
General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami
(SAN), not to extradite the agitators as Nigeria had
no extradition treaty with Cameroon.
He further advised the Federal Government to
consider the safety of Nigerians in Bakassi who
might suffer attacks from supporters of the arrested
freedom fighters.
Falana said, “Having failed to crush the ideas which
recently led to the demand for the state of Biafra
by the members of the Indigenous Peoples of
Biafra, the Federal Government should not attempt
to provoke the marginalised people of Southern
Cameroon by frustrating their legitimate demand
for an independent state of Ambazonia.
“Since the Federal Government has not succeeded
in completely defeating the dreaded Boko Haram
sect it should not declare war on the people of
Southern Cameroon and thereby further expose the
displaced people of Bakassi to reprisal.
“We are therefore compelled to call on President
Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate release
of the detained Cameroonian freedom fighters
without any further delay. Since Nigeria has no
extradition treaty with Cameroon, the Attorney
General of the Federation lacks the vires to initiate
extradition proceedings under the Extradition Act
(E25) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 for
the extradition of the detained Cameroonian
freedom fighters.”
Falana added that although the Federal
Government was under pressure from President
Paul Biya of Cameroon to hand over the detainees
to the security forces in Cameroon, it must be
realised that the detainees were entitled to reside
or visit Nigeria without any molestation.

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