Tuesday, October 28, 2008

According to Nigeria's Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), detained Nigerian blogger, Jonathan Elendu has been "tortured to either disclose the sources of the several embarrassing news reports on prominent political leaders in Nigeria" and is on a hunger strike because he is afraid that he will be poisoned in jail. HURIWA's National Coordinator, Mr. Onwubike also said that Elendu "was also being reportedly pressured into framing up some others."

Onwubike went on to say,

"As a human rights body, HURIWA condemns the SSS resort to torture (physical and psychological) to extract information from Mr. Jonathan Elendu.

"It is unimaginable that the SSS would resort to Stone Age methods of extracting information in a brazen breach of the fundamental human rights of Mr. Jonathan Elendu in an administration that has made respect for the rule of law its mantra ... equally condemnable is the reported transfer of Elendu from the custody of the SSS to that of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for possible arraignment for money laundering, since SSS appears to have come to the end of the road."

"If true, this calls to question the competence of the SSS as an intelligence and security organisation."[sic]

I hope that this report, the only one, other than my previous post, that has come out with new information about Elendu's situation in almost a week, is not true. However, I have to admit that given the US State Department's report on the SSS and other security forces in Nigeria, I think there is more truth to this news story than I care to admit. If Elendu is on a hunger strike, then his health over the last 11 days must have deteriorated significantly and if he is not going to be released by the Nigerian government, he should at least be allowed to see an independent and reputable doctor to care for him. There is precedent for such. After all, while under EFCC detention earlier this year, James Ibori was flown to a hospital when he needed medical care. In fact, when released from jail, the Court noted that his health "needed the sort of medical attention he could not receive in prison." The same - medical care and release from detention - should be accorded to Jonathan Elendu.

Furthermore, being that Elendu is now in EFCC custody, why is it that Elendu has still not been allowed to meet with his lawyer, Ugo Muoma? In all my time covering and following EFCC cases, I have never heard of an individual being denied his Constitutional right to legal counsel. It is quite curious that Elendu has not been allowed to speak with his lawyer and his family.

I have to also mention that apparently what is happening to Elendu could happen to anyone in Nigeria, especially if you are not a person of means or with considerable 'connections' to protect you. It is for that reason, the very ability to infringe upon the right to be free, that many are coming together to encourage the Nigerian government to either release Elendu, or charge him. On Friday, October 31st, many of us will title our blog posts and change our Facebook status' to say "FREE JONATHAN ELENDU NOW!" Please join us. You do not have to be Nigerian or even be a blogger to be troubled by the Jonathan Elendu situation and this new development. Together, we can all encourage the Nigerian government to do the right thing in this case and hopefully prevent such from happening to any person again.

Also, check out Waffy's published article (Nigeria's Guardian newspaper) - 'Who Is Afraid Of The Internet?'

Related Articles of Interest:
- Blogger, Jonathan Elendu, Still In Custody
- Nigerian Blogger Arrested!!!
- Channels TV Shut Down By Yar'Adua
- Suppression In A Democratic Regime
- The Nigerian Psyche
- Persistent Psychological Paralysis
- The Significance of Persistent Psychological Paralysis

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TheAfroBeat said...

My prayers are with Elendu and his family during these uncertain times. I have heard horror stories about the Nigerian Secret Service and sure enough, if these kinds of things can happen in North American and Western European economies (i.e. indefinite detention by intelligence agencies without trial) who have more accountability to the rest of the world, then i can only imagine how the extents to which unchecked/un-monitored agencies like the Nigerian Secret Service will go to carry out their orders from above. I'm hoping Elendu's transfer to the EFCC will mean an improvement in "due process" and that he'll be allowed to see his legal representative asap. Thanks for pushing on this Solo, Waffy and other bloggers who are shinign the spotlight on this injustice. It really could be anyone of us out there.

Femi B said...

My prayers are with them too..but I am curious..what are the people in NIgeria doing about this. Are their protests or is everyone minding their business. If someone is ready to pay for my ticket..i don't mind gathering folks to protest at secretariats and public areas around the state. But seriously...i feel like their is more noise on the internet about this that in the country itself...or am I just wrong?

Shawn said...

Mr. Femi B I think I share your concern that the noise about the Elendu issue is more on the net than in the country itself. The question then is, how much impact can noise on the internet have in influencing the case as a whole. How can bloggers really create a wave of opinion that will get Elendu real global attention? My fear is that things may deteriorate and he may just become another sad story in the history of human rights abuse in Nigeria.(God forbid)
Well maybe I underestimate the power of the internet. If that is the case, then I beleive as we take a stand on the issue, come friday 31st, we just might change the story for the better.

Sherri said...

my thoughts are with him and his family.

from what i have heard so far,there seem to be much more to his "invitation" than we'll ever know and he might have been lured home.

Anonymous said...

It's really baffling. If it isnt curbed now, it wont stop and it'ld only get worse. Someone said a lot has already been done to try to get him released, but hasnt worked. Im hoping this new initiative makes a difference. It's really upsetting.

I mean, WORRAMESS!!!

Femi B said...

I am not a Mr. i am a Miss. but i see your point. I feel the internet is extremely strong..how else would we have known about such a case. But however, i also believe that presence is also important too. Gestures such as rally infront of the governors offices..news stations..that would force the Nigerian media to cover the story. But how many people are willing to do that? My friend a human rights lawyer told me that to be able to fight for human rights succesfully, such human rights activists can only do it well outside the country. How true this is I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Google JONATHAN ELENDU and most of the result is the arrest. This is a numbers game and we aim to make a lot of noise on Friday. The Internet is an enabler of hope but while our country is still in the dark (electricity, thanks to OBJ's wasted years), those generators will continue to allow those who could, experience the possibilities of the future.


We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Jonathan Elendu, or his arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction, if he is suspected to have contravened any laws of the land.

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