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HURIWA DEMANDS RELEASE OF AIT'S AMAECHI ANAKWE

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
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A Pro-Democracy Non-Governmental Organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has asked President Good Luck Jonathan to order the immediate release of the Senior Editorial staff of the African Independent Television Mr. Amaechi Anakwe who was reportedly picked up arbitrarily and detained by armed police operatives on the order of the newly promoted Assistant Inspector General of Police Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu.

In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and he National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the high handedness and the flagrant violation of the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression and movement under chapter four of the Nigerian Constitution by the serving AIG Mr. Mbu who has abused his power by ordering the detention of a journalist just for merely describing him as controversial.

The Rights group asked the President to also order the Police Service Commission to issue a query to the Assistant Inspector General of Police for this gross abuse of the fundamental human rights of a Nigerian who was simply doing his duties constitutionally guaranteed under section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria[ as amended] which conferred on the media in Nigeria as the vanguard and national watchdogs of public office holders. HURIWA said it amounted to the use of self help measures for the Police officer to abuse his power by arresting a Nigerian journalist from his line of legitimate work as a media worker even as it expressed shock that the police officer acted both as a prosecutor and judge in his own case.

HURIWA has also asked the Federal Government to once and for all issue stern warning and caution to high profile police officers to desist from creating spectacular image problem not just for the government but for the country before the comity of nations just as the Rights group reminded the Government that the on-going spate of bombing campaign by the armed Islamic terrorists [Boko Haram] was reportedly precipitated by the alleged extra-legal execution of the founder of Boko Haram Mallam Mohammed Yusuf who was captured alive in Maiduguri in 2009 by the Joint military task force and handed over to the police but was later killed reportedly while in Police detention. HURIWA has therefore called on the Nigerian Government to take decisive steps to bring about radical and comprehensive police reforms so as to throw out lawless and recalcitrant operatives and officers who perpetually bring bad image for Nigeria.

''We hereby appeal to the Nigerian President to order the immediate release of the journalist Mr Amaechi Anakwe from the detention of Mr Mbu and order that the said officer be sanctioned administratively by the Police Service Commission for abuse of power even as the African Independent Television is advised to seek redress and heavy compensation in the competent court of law without let or hindrance. We are shocked that barely few days after Amnesty International issued a damaging report of use of torture by the Nigerian Police, this newly promoted Assistant Inspector General of Police has proceeded to abuse the fundamental freedoms of a Nigerian. If he felt that the journalist offended him in the eye of the law why take the law into his hands instead of seeking judicial redress? Mr, President must act fast before this overzealous police officer attracts public opprobrium to his administration which may rob off on his chances of wining re-election next February.''