Nigeria: Lawyer requests return of 47 extradited detainees in Cameroon

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Femi Falana sent a letter to President Muhammed Buhari urging him to bring back this group of people including naturalized Nigerians, refugees and asylum seekers.

Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari is questioned about the fate of 47 detainees arrested in Nigeria on 07 January and extradited to Cameroon, including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 46 other separatists who are currently detained in the State Secretariat for Defense, pending their release. Appearance before the Yaoundé Military Court.

The call is from the human rights lawyer, Femi Falana. He sent an open letter to President Muhammed Buhari urging him to “bring naturalized Nigerians, refugees and asylum seekers illegally arrested, detained and expelled from Nigeria on Friday, January 26, 2018″ by the National Security Adviser, Major -General Babagana Monguno ” .

The entirety of the letter

“Our clients are not illegal immigrants in Nigeria. Three of them are naturalized Nigerian citizens while others are recognized refugees and asylum seekers in Nigeria. Twelve of our clients, who are the leaders of the people of South Cameroon and who have lived in Nigeria for several years, were gathered for a meeting at the Nera Hotel, Abuja, on Friday, January 5, 2018 to discuss the challenges they face. , of the more than 10,000 Cameroonians who sought political asylum in Nigeria because of the persecution and repression under Paul Biya’s regime in Cameroon. But before the meeting began, a team of armed security personnel invaded the scene, abducted our clients, and took them to an unknown location.

Despite the detailed report of the credible online news media, police and security agencies have denied knowing about the kidnapping of our clients. As a result, all the efforts of lawyers, doctors and family members of our clients to visit them in custody have been turned away without any legal justification. Even Ms. Nalowa Bih who is pregnant was turned down by the National Security Advisor.

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However, a representative of the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees in Nigeria was allowed to visit our clients at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the visit, the United Nations representative found that our clients were held in an underground cell at the headquarters of the Defense Intelligence Agency on the orders of the National Security Adviser.

Due to the refusal of the National Security Adviser to allow lawyers, relatives and doctors to access our clients, we filed a petition with the Abuja Judicial Section of the Federal High Court on Thursday, January 25, access to their fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement.

Despite the pending trial and the intervention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the National Security Advisor expelled our clients from Nigeria and sent them to Cameroon on Friday, January 26, 2018.

Although the National Security Adviser was ashamed to reveal the eviction of our clients from Nigeria, the Government of Cameroon celebrated the deportation and threatened to pursue our clients for unspecified crimes. Thus, with the complicity of the national security advisor, the Cameroonian government has since kept our clients in undisclosed military custody in Cameroon.


Of the 52 people deported from Nigeria, the government of Cameroon claimed that the national security advisor had handed over 47. So far, the national security adviser has not explained where the remaining five detainees were. !

The national security advisor knew that two of our clients are naturalized Nigerians, six are refugees and 37 others are political asylum seekers who are entitled to be protected by the Nigerian federal government. To avoid any ambiguity, the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees in Nigeria has drawn the national security adviser’s attention to Nigeria’s legal obligations to respect the rights of our clients.

Under the National Security Agencies Act (Cap N74) and the 2015 Immigration Act, the National Security Advisor is not competent to arrest, detain or expel a foreign national from Nigeria to another country. country.

Since the Government of Nigeria has never violated the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Refugees and the OAU Convention on Refugees by deporting refugees and asylum-seekers to any country where they may be persecuted, we urge you: order the National Security Adviser to produce the 5 missing deportees and bring back to Nigeria our clients who were illegally deported to Cameroon without further delay.

If the National Security Adviser is unable to bring our clients back to Nigeria, he should be removed from office for such shameless impunity that has exposed Nigeria to making fun of the courtesy of law-abiding nations. The federal government should persuade the government of Cameroon not to persecute our clients to prevent the United Nations from punishing Nigeria for violating the provisions of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

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You will therefore agree with us that the arrest, detention and deportation of our clients from Nigeria to Cameroon by the National Security Adviser can not be justified on the following grounds: On Nigeria’s appeal for a settlement of the political crisis in Cameroon the people of southern Cameroon have brought an action in the Federal High Court to determine whether the inhabitants of southern Cameroon have no right to self-determination in their territory clearly delimited and separated from the Republic of Cameroon. Cameroon.

By a consent judgment rendered by the Court on March 5, 2002, the federal government was instructed to file a complaint with the International Court of Justice for judicial confirmation of the human right of the people of South Cameroon to self-determination. Attached and marked Schedule A is a certified copy of the judgment. The federal government has also pledged to take other necessary steps to bring the case of the people of South Cameroon to self-determination before the United Nations General Assembly and other international organizations.

Even though the complaint has not been lodged with the International Court of Justice, the federal government has continued to recognize the human rights of our clients and others in South Cameroon to self-determination. “

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