Police must release Journalist Chinonso Uba, now -CSOs, Rights groups

No fewer than 31 civil society organisations, CSOs and human rights groups, have called on Police authorities in Imo State to release Chinonso Uba, also called Nonso Nkwa now or immediately charge him to court.

A statement on Monday, by CSOs and rights group, said: “Nigerian police continue to detain journalist and human rights defender Chinonso Uba also known as Nonso Nkwa four days after he was abducted at Owerri, Imo state.

“Nonso Nkwa, a journalist and coordinator of ‘’Protect the Weak International Foundation, PROWIF, a human rights group based in Owerri, Imo State was abducted on July 27, on his way from work at OsisaFM radio station by several masked men in three vehicles.

“His lawyer said he was initially detained at the Imo State Crimin”al Investigative Department(CID) Owerri where he was denied access to his lawyers, family members, and personal doctor.

“He was later flown to Abuja on Friday where he remains in custody at the Police Force Headquarters Abuja.

“On Friday an Imo state government official admitted it was behind Mr Uba’s ordeal, and accused him of defaming the state government by accusing it of working with Asare Dokubo, a militia leader, to unleash violence in Imo state.

“Last month, Asari Dokubo admitted that his militia is currently active in several states including Imo state where they are currently battling the military wing of the outlawed Indigenous State of Biafra, IPoB.

“We decry the manner in which Mr Uba was abducted like a terrorist and call for investigation and punishment of the police officers involved.

“Even if he has defamed the Imo state government as alleged, the proper thing is not to abduct him in this manner but to charge him in court.

“His continued detention without trial is a violation of his fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

“We are convinced that Nonso Nkwa is being targeted for his work as a journalist, his criticism of the Imo state government, and the spate of killings by both state and non-state actors in the Imo state.

“We reiterate that no journalist or human rights defender should be intimidated or arrested because of his work. The Nigerian police have too often proven brazenly willing to flout the law to intimidate the press.

“We, therefore, call for the immediate and unconditional release of Theodore Chinonso Uba and the dropping of all charges against him,” the added.

The CSOs and rights group include, Sterling Law Centre, Abuja; Avocats Sans Frontiers( Lawyers without Borders) Abuja; Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Lagos; Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS) Aba; Everybody Must Serve Campaign For Human Rights (EMS), Abujaand Justice for Peace and Development Initiative (JPDI), Lagos.

Others are Nnaemeka Ejiofor & Associates; The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), Onitsha; Life Wire International Foundation, Benin City; International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative, Enugu; “Enugu Civil Society Advancement Network (ECSAN) Enugu; Coalition of Civil Society Workers and Human Rights Defenders, Enugu; and Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation, (HURSDEF), Port Harcourt.

One love foundation, Benin City; Nigerian Observatory For Human Rights, Abuja; African Centre for Media & Information Literacy(AFRICMIL) , Abuja; Anti-Corruption Awareness Organisation, Enugu; Child Rights Foundation, Lagos; Foundation For Leadership And Development; Rivers State Civil Society Organisations; Association of West Africa Media Lawyers; Rethink Africa Foundation and FOI Counsel; Open Society for Justice Reform Project are also involed.

The rest are Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights, Nigeria, (CCIDESOR); Habitat care and Protection Initiative (HAPI); Dinju, Fashe & Co.; Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights, and Development Advancement (FoCEHRaDA); Akwa Ibom Human Rights Community (AKHRC); Public Enlightenment Projects PEP Umuahia and Institutional and Sustainable Development Foundation, FCT.”

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