Biafra: Emeka Ngornadi in DSS detention since April over IPOB – Lawyer

A legal practitioner, Festus Ogun, has condemned the detention of Emeka Richmond Ngornadi by the Department of State Services (DSS) over the Biafra agitation.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ogun revealed that Ngornadi was arrested in April 2021 for allegedly making comments on social media in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The lawyer said though his client is critically ill, the DSS, at the headquarters on Monday, blocked access to the detainee.

Ogun disclosed that operatives demanded a letter before he would be allowed to Ngornadi “whose right is currently being infringed upon”.

He told the secret service that there is no substantive rule or procedural policy that backs the demand of a letter or the Director General’s approval before a lawyer can meet his client.

“Client’s unhindered access to his lawyer is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The DG’s approval is even discretionary.

“Lawyers should have unfettered access to their clients as stipulated by law. So frustrating to practice law in a lawless country! It is so unfortunate that the SSS has become a law unto itself.

“We are not new to the shenanigans of the SSS. We perfectly understand the language they are currently speaking and we will surely reply in the language they understand.”

Ogun noted that as hard as they may try, the court remains the solace of the oppressed.

He said the “hide-and-seek strategy” deployed to continue to violate Emeka’s fundamental rights would only put the DSS agency in more shame and ridicule.

“There must be consequences for impunity. We will not relent until Mr. Ngornadi enjoys again the breath of freedom”, the statement added.

Nigeria’s security agencies have a history of detaining citizens for a long period of time without charging them to court.

On Monday, the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) reacted angrily to the incarceration of Gloria Okolie.

The police labelled the 22-year-old a spy for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Gloria has been in custody for more than two months.

The NBA declared that the police and other security units have become a big embarrassment to the country.

Monday Ubani, Chairman NBA-SPIDEL expressed shock that the police released an explanation of Gloria’s arrest after about 70 days.

The body said the situation further exposed the “incompetence and illegality with which the security agencies carry out investigations in Nigeria”.

“It is wrong to arrest an individual and start sourcing evidence for prosecution. It is not only archaic but patently criminal for police officers to indulge in this manner of primitive investigation of crime”, Ubani noted.

The NBA gave the police a 14-day ultimatum to release or charge Gloria to court.