Atiku, Shehu Sani, Concerned Nigerians demand Ugochinyere’s immediate release

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Shehu Sani, and a civil society organisation, Concerned Nigerians have demanded the immediate release of the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere.

Ugochinyere was arrested on Thursday by men of the Nigeria Police Force allegedly on the orders of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The arrest is believed to be connected with claims by Ugochinyere that American billionaire and philanthropist, Bill Gates bribed the House leadership to expeditiously pass the controversial “Infectious Diseases Control Bill 2020”.

Gbajabiamila and his colleagues have strenuously denied the allegation.

In a message he personally signed and shared on Twitter, Atiku wrote: “We are a nation governed by the rule of law and not of the jungle.

“Tyranny and dictatorship are inimical to a democratic order.

“I hereby call for the immediate release of the spokesman of CUPP, Barr. Ikenga Ugochinyere.”

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In the same vein, Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th Senate, wrote, “The arrest and detention of CUPP spokesperson Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere stands unreservedly condemned.

“Democracy is in peril when freedom of expression is not tolerated even by those who should institutionally defend (it).”

Concerned Nigerians, in a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police and signed by its Convener, Mr Deji Adeyanju, described Ugochinyere’s arrest as direct disrespect and disregard for the orders of the court, which constitutes a display of disregard for the judiciary in today’s democracy.

The group referred to a June 4 ruling by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court that restrained the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the State Security Services either by themselves or through their servants or proxies from arresting Mr. Ugochinyere pending the conclusion of the suit before it.

The statement further read, “We are constrained to call your attention to an Order given by Honourable Justice O. A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in the matter of Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere v Hon Femi Gbajabiamila & Ors, FCT/HC/BW/CV/120/2020, where the Court reiterated the Order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court and further restrained the Inspector General of “Police and the Director-General of the State Security Services either by themselves or through their servants or proxies from arresting Mr. Ugochinyere pending the conclusion of the suit before it. Find attached the court order.

“Mr. Ugochinyere’s arrest was carried out in direct disrespect and disregard for the orders of the court, and constitutes a display of disregard for the judiciary that has become all too common in our democracy.

“You will recall that upon assumption of office, and several times, since, you have stated your intention to ensure that the Nigerian Police displays respect for the judiciary by complying with all Orders of the Courts at all times.

“It is on thisbasis that we call on you to use your good offices to cause compliance with these Orders of Court and order Mr. Ugochinyere’s immediate release from detention.”

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