We the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), the umbrella body of all the youth organizations in the South-East zone condemn in strongest terms the unlawful arrest of the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) Barr. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere by the Nigerian Police Force in Abuja. This show of shame and rascality is totally unacceptable.
It is a travesty of the law for the police to arrest Ugochinyere over a matter that is in court and for which the court had directly and in clear terms restrained the police from arresting or detaining him in any manner. This acts of tyranny and dictatorship are inimical to our democratic order.
From reports available to us, we were informed that Barr. Ugochinyere is being detained under very dehumanizing conditions as an animal where he is allegedly being maltreated, beating and tortured because he is an Igbo man. What a shame. This impunity against Ugochinyere and the people of South-East must stop.
The arrest of Ikenga is an affront on the judiciary and on our hard-earned democracy and a total disregard to his fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution as amended and as also enshrined in the United Nations charter on human rights.
Under a democratic government, citizens have full constitutional rights and privilege to air their views and opinions on any issue concerning the government and Barr. Ikenga has not violated any law by saying the views of his group, CUPP, concerning government policies and decisions.
Ikenga has always been the vanguard that speaks for the masses and the Nigerian people and it is not an offence in a democratic government for anyone to challenge government policies or decisions that is inimical to the people.
The arrest of Ikenga is a plot by the government to silence dissenting voices and harass the opposition to keep quiet in the face of high profile corruption and misrule that can bring the economy of the country to his knees.
President Muhammadu Buhari said worst things against the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, he protested against his government and did all manner of things against the government of the former and he was never arrested, humiliated or harassed by the former government, why then should Ikenga Ugochinyere be arrested under the government of the same man that enjoyed all these privileges. Under a democratic government, it is never an offence to air your views on issues that is not favourable to you.
Mr President was elected through a democratic constitutional process and his government is duty-bound to uphold the rule of law and all tenets of our Democratic order. The government must remember that we are not in a military junta or regime. That Mr President was a former Military Head of State doesn’t mean he will govern as if we are in a military regime. He must respect the principles and doctrine of democracy which he swore an oath to protect.
We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Barr. Ikenga Ugochinyere by the Inspector General of Police and also an unreserved apology from him for the embarrassment to his person. If after this press release and he is not released by the police, we will mobilize two million Nigerians to occupy the streets, roads lawfully in protest to demand for his unconditional release.
Enough is Enough. We will not tolerate the intimidation of the opposition. We are all Nigerians and nobody owns the country more than the other. All Nigerians have equal rights.
Hon. Goodluck Ibem
Comrade Kanice Igwe