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Nigeria news: Opposition mounts against arrest of Arewa Youth leader


Lagos State Chairman of the Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA), Chief Supo Shonibare, has called for the immediate release of detained President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji Shettima Yerima.


Security operatives picked up Shettima in Lagos at the weekend reportedly over his comments on the military action in the Niger-Delta that he denounced for causing the loss of civilian lives.


Condemning the arrest as typical of a dictatorial administration, Shonibare equally regarded it as a violation of the Freedom of Expression guarantees enshrined in Nigeria ’s democratic Constitution.


Shonibare who also doubles as the Lagos State Chairman of Afenifere, protested the fact that Shettima had not been charged to a court of law for any offence days after his being apprehended.


His words: “We demand the immediate release of Yerima or he should be charged to court if there is any allegation of his having committed an offence.”


Shonibare warned law enforcement agents against being overzealous in discharging their responsibilities, saying they must conform to the rule of law in carrying out their duties.


“Law enforcement agencies must realize that they cannot exercise judicial functions and as such cannot lawfully hold any detainee beyond 48 hours,” he said, adding, “Junior officers who take it upon themselves to keep on breaching the fundamental human rights of detainees should stop to think as they will be held culpable at a future date for these breaches.”


According to the DPA boss, whatever opinion the AYCF President had expressed should be considered within his democratic rights to freely hold and canvass a personal or corporate opinion as allowed in Section 39 (1) of the Constitution.


The Section guarantees that: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”