The Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide (IYC) on Tuesday cried out over the ‘disappearance’ of the spokesman of the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, Mr. Daniel Ezekiel, who was said to have been picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) over a week ago.
IYC, the umbrella body of all youths of Ijaw descent, in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, by its factional leader, Mr. Elvis Donkemezuo, yesterday, decried the silence of the DSS since the arrest of the rights activist. The group urged the federal secret police to either charge Ezekiel to court or set him free immediately to continue his agitation for the development of the Niger Delta region.
“Our attention has been drawn to the unlawful abduction and detention of an Ijaw Youth, Niger Delta activist and social commentator, Daniel Ezekiel, by men identified to be Nigeria security operatives over undisclosed offences. “Daniel who hails from Egbema community in Warri North local Government Area of Delta State is said to have been arrested by security men around 8p.m. on August 3, 2016 in Warri. “According to family sources, he left his home after receiving a call from a strange lady known simply as Precious and has neither been seen nor heard from since then.
“His family and friends are alleging that he has been arrested by the DSS due to his vocal stance against the unlawful arrest and detention of 10 youths from Gbaramatu Kingdom,” the group alleged. According to the IYC, all efforts to reach the spokesman of IPDI, have been fruitless, noting that that even if the man was guilty of any offence, due process should be followed in dealing with him. “As of today, all efforts to reach Daniel have proved abortive as no one has been able to ascertain his whereabouts. Given that the government is yet to deny having him in their custody, we call on the government to effect his immediate release.
“Nigeria is a nation governed by laws enshrined in the 1999 Constitution which guarantees the right of all citizens to freedom from arbitrary arrests and detentions like this.
“If the government has evidence of commission of any crime against Daniel, then he should be availed his right to legal representation to respond to such charges in an open court rather than lock him up in secret”, the group added. While declaring its support for a legitimate fight against militancy and other forms of criminalities in the Niger Delta region, the IYC said that the war must be seen to follow the rule of law. “We, therefore demand that he should be charged to a court of competent jurisdiction to determine his guilt or innocence. Otherwise he should be released immediately.