CAN-America condemns Ezekwesili’s airport detention

Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili

The group says Monday’s arrest of the former minister was unnecessary.


The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CAN-AN, has criticised Nigerian security operatives over the arrest of former education minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili, at the Abuja airport Monday.

The body, on Tuesday, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to call state agents at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to order.

The Department of State Security, DSS, on Monday detained Mrs. Ezekwesili as she prepared to travel to the United Kingdom for a scheduled appearance on the broadcaster, BBC.

The arrest sparked an uproar on social media after Mrs. Ezekwesili’s tweeted about it.

The Executive Director of the Christian body, Laolu Akande, said the former minister’s detention was an unnecessary harassment.

Mrs. Ezekwesili is a trustee of the organization.

“We want to humbly and sincerely request the Nigerian Presidency to call to order those airport security officials involved in this unnecessary harassment of a patriotic Nigerian who has served both the nation and the world creditably as a public official,” Mr. Akande said.

Mr. Akande said it is trivial for the Nigerian government to “mischievously” focus on the former minister trying to indict her credibility.

“Effort to throw political tantrums and cast aspersion on her altruistic activism is a waste of government time and public resources. There is no offense in having a former federal minister defending and standing up for the very concept of democratic expression. It is indeed a welcome development for Nigeria’s nascent democracy,” he said.


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  • Joe

    Nigeria is a different country in everything on this planet earth. I cannot understand why citizens will mount an unwarranted pressure on government on terrorist act. The normal reactions from citizens in other parts of the world was they condemn the terrorist acts, but here in Nigeria, we put pressure on the government so that the government could make mistakes in it’s plans of rescuing the teens. Oby is not happy with this government right from day one, because is not part of the government. It’s unfortunate that people that oby will go out to discredit her country abroad.

    • redeem

      See that is the sore part of the case with these chibok girls issue which this Ibo woman yearns to turn into another civil war–not a single Nigerian is interested in the activities of boko haram-As far as thex are concerned- boko haram can kill every native residing in the north–(wetin conern them–that is why I keep on saying that the army will never be able to defeat boko haram9 Simply–because most fulanis among other nigerian are very< happy with their murdereous work–Since it gives them room to blame jonathan–while another mad body from the US behaves like aje butter kids–a woman is treated to a 30 minute delay at the airport and its turned into an alawada-circus–show by the husband who is also said to be a pastor-is that how pastors wives are supposed to behave–these are money monngers—–not real pastors

  • JayGeeEx

    Just saw this story from the Punch and if it’s the truth, this girl Oby is really, a very silly rabbit… More importantly, why have the Punch and Vanguard blocked this account? I thought censorship was out? ..

    Former Education Minister and avid supporter of the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, yesterday narrated her ordeals in the hands of security operatives at the Abuja International Airport on Monday, The #Punch reports.

    Media agencies had said that Ezekwesili was delayed for over 40 minutes by men of the Department of State Security, who harassed her based on “orders from above.”

    However in a statement by Pastor Laolu Akande, Executive Director of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, – a group to whom she is a trustee, and which she also visited on Tuesday, Ezekwesili gave a blow by blow account of her ordeals in the hands of DSS.

    Akande quoted Ezekwesili as saying that, “I arrived at the airport yesterday (on Monday) to travel to London on British Airline. First, after the luggage screening section, I moved to the Customs people, sitting right next to it and do a more thorough bag search. Rather than they handling my luggage as is the practice, there were three SSS men, who rudely took over before they could do so, and ordered me to open my bag.

    “I was travelling light, with just my hand luggage leather roll on and my computer bag. I placed the bag for them (to see) and one was already furiously frisking through it when the Customs advised that a woman be allowed to do it. She was allowed and she did it.

    “She finished, zipped up the luggage and they said I could proceed. But I asked that the computer bag be also searched, and they did.

    “I went on to do my checking and got my boarding pass, and was swiftly done. I arrived the Departure Immigration Desk at about 7.15am and presented my passport and forms. The Immigration staff did his processing and handed to the SSS official. Usually, their entire process lasts no more than five to 10 minutes on a passport. As a frequent traveller through our Lagos and Abuja airports, I speak based on experience and evidence. Even on the same day, the process for other travellers that I witnessed did not last more than five minutes. But on Monday, it became five, 10, 15 and 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 minutes for the Departure Desk processing for me, with no explanation given except “We act under instruction.”

    Ezekwesili said after 10 minutes of waiting, she asked the officer why her passport was not handed over to her.

    “He responded, “I am not doing this personally madam. I am simply acting based on instruction, and you of all persons should understand that.”

    “When it was 20 minutes into the process, and with BA announcing the final boarding call for the 8am flight, the officer walked out of the cubicle, heading off. I followed him, asking where he was going without giving back my passport nor an explanation on why it was being withheld. His nonchalant response was “just wait. I am trying to help you”.

    “It became evident that they withheld the passport to detain me at their departure desk in order to miss the flight. That was when I tweeted @ 7.37am “@obyezeks: Is this a democracy? I am being detained by the SSS @ Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. The SSS has refused to give my passport to me.” At 7.41am “@obyezeks: On my way to London this morning for my @BBCHARDtalk appearance billed for tomorrow and the SSS has detained me by withholding my passport.”

    “At that point, I brought out my phone to record him even as I asked for the passport. He got angry and charged at me that he would seize my phone. Then his colleague screamed at him a third time to handover the passport. He did,” she said.

  • idama

    So so disappointed! Oby is just seeking unnecessary attention! Who detain her? And who harassed her? According to her account does delay amounts to detain and harass? Just imagine what this fellow is up to! That is why it is been insinuated that she is waging psychological TERRORISM against the government just complementing the work of Shekau!

  • redeem

    The long and tall of this yeye oby story giving her background as he wife of a pastors-is that PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE which can never be bought in jankara or alaba market place in APC CONTROLLED LAGOS STATE-

  • Dr Patrick Kolawole Awosan

    Ebele Jonathan is metamorphosing into Nigerian Hitler of our time.Ebele Jonathan might live his life after office in prison with the impunity,anarchy,massive-corruption,deepening-impoverishment and extravagant manner he is running the affairs of Nigeria.Ebele Jonathan must be reminded that Nigeria presidency is not his fore-fathers stool or traditional title.

  • Man_Enough

    they are strong against the weak but weak against the strong.