By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Sunday demanded for the immediate release of 10 youths arrested by the military about two months ago during the invasion of Oporoza community in Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government area of Delta State.
The group also demanded for the release of an ex-militant leader, Mr. Aboy Francis Muturu, who was said to have been arrested in the presence of his wife at Bomadi in Bomadi Local Government area of the state.
The IYC, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Eric Omare, lamented that the arrested persons had been in military detention since without trial, describing the action as unconstitutional and unlawful.
“These persons have been in military detention without trial. It is unconstitutional and unlawful for the military to arrest and dump people at their detention facilities without trial.
“Nigeria operates a constitutional democracy, hence actions of security agencies including the fight against insurgency in the Niger Delta region must be done within the ambit of the law”, it added.
The IYC expressed its support for any legitimate fight against criminality in the region but maintained however, that such must be done within the ambit of the rule of law and respect for human rights.
It stated “Anybody accused of an offence is presumed innocent until proved otherwise by the court. The military has no power to arrest anybody including the 10 Gbaramatu youths, Mr. Francis Muturu and any other Nigerian without trial.
“The 10 youths from Gbaramtu Kingdom have been in detention for more than two months and in the case of Mr. Francis Muturu, his where about is unknown up till this moment since he was arrested by the military in the presence of his nursing wife on the 9th of June, 2016 at Bomadi town in Bomadi local government Area of Delta State.
“If the military has evidence of commission of crime against the Oporoza 10 and Mr. Francis Muturu, we demand that they should be charged to court and let the court determine their guilt or innocence. Otherwise, the IYC demand that they should be released without further delay”, it added. ThisDay