A youth group in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region has accused the country’s secret police of arbitrary arrest and detention of “several” youth from the area.
The group, the Ijaw Youth Council, said this on Sunday following the arraignment of a journalist from the area who had been held for more than two years by the State Security Service, SSS.
The 50-year-old journalist, Jones Abiri, accused of militancy, was kept incommunicado in a secret detention by the SSS since 2016.
Rights activists and journalism groups had condemned his detention.
“The IYC wishes to alert the world that apart from Mr. Jones Abiri, there are several other Niger Delta youths who were arrested in connection with the Niger Delta Avengers inspired hostilities in the Niger Delta region and who are in the detention of the DSS without charging them to court,” Eric Omare, a factional leader of the youth group said in a statement.
“At the time of issuing this statement, Niger Delta youths such as Mr. Alex Odogu (Spokesman, IYC, Abuja Chapter), Mr. Census Oluba, Mr. Germachy Oboko, John Fortune, Michael John, Gabriel Ogbu, Justice Golubus, Joshua Golubus, Felix Mieminye and several others are still in detention.
“In some of the cases like that of Mr. Census Oluba, courts of competent jurisdictions both in Delta State and Abuja have ordered for his release but the DSS refused to obey the orders of court,” Mr Omare said in the statement.
Mr Omare told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday, that he could not tell the exact number of the youths that are in the SSS detention.
“From the account of one of the boys released about two months ago, there are several others who are still in detention,” he said.
The group demanded that the detained youths be released immediately or charged to court if the Nigerian government has any case against them.
The SSS has been operating without a spokesperson for several months now.