By Christopher Oji
Human rights lawyer, Mr Monday Ubani, has called on the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Akali Usman Baba, to unconditionally release Gloria Okolie, who has been in police detention for over 70 days.
Ubani lambasted the police for what he called illegal detention without trial of the young lady.
In a statement, Ubani said: “Our attention has been drawn to the long and illegal detention of Gloria Okolie by the Nigeria High Command for over 67 days over her friendship with an alleged Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) member.
“It is further alleged that while she is under police detention in Owerri, she has been used as a slave (beast of burden) and terribly abused, tortured by the officers in charge of her detention.
“While these allegations are yet to be verified as no lawyer or relation had had access to her, we are of the candid opinion that there are many things wrong with this detention, which we consider patently illegal, wickedly and appalling.
“What makes this matter more shocking is the latest press release of the current IGP, after over 67 days, conceding to the arrest and illegal long detention on the ground that she was providing information, drugs and weapons to the said IPOB members.
“According to the IGP, ‘further investigations by the police team revealed that Gloria Okolie takes advantage of her gender and seemingly innocuous looks as camouflage to carry out espionage against military and police targets on behalf of IPOB/ESN.’
“Assuming, but not conceding, that these “grave allegations” are true, does this by any stretch of imagination empower any security agency any right to detain a citizen for such length of time, thereby, depriving her the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of movement, rights of dignity of person and right of fair trial within a reasonable time as provided under 1999 Constitution? Nay, her guaranteed rights of presumption of innocence until proven guilty has been destroyed, permanently, by this lengthy detention without any charge or arraignment.
“We are, therefore, giving the police authorities 14 days from today, to charge Gloria Okolie to court, if she has committed any known offence, or release her unconditionally. We shall commence the enforcement of her fundamental rights, which has been criminally violated, if this request is not adhered to, as usual, by the police authorities. They are deemed adequately advised.”