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Ekweremadu: The Senator is not a Flight Risk! Says Concerned Nigerians in a Protest and Demands Bail

Some Nigerians under the aegis of Concerned Nigerians United for Ekweremadu have protested to the Government of the United Kingdom over continued detention of former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu in the European country.

The group, which bore several placards faulting what they described as “shabby treatment of Ekweremadu”, expressed their displeasure in a protest letter, which they submitted to the UK Government at the UK High Commission in Abuja.

Addressing the press at the High Commission after submitting the protest letter entitled “The Travail of Senator Ike Ekweremadu: Protest Against Continued Detention”, the National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Paul Sawa, said the planned one-year detention of the Senator till May 2023, when his real trial was scheduled to start, was injurious to his human right and the principle of assumption of innocence for the accused.

The group wondered if a UK Member of Parliament could be subjected to such protracted detention without trial in Nigeria and therefore called on the UK authorities to grant Ekweremadu bail and be humane while he faces his trial.

According to Sawa:
We are a body of Nigerians, who have keenly followed and are concerned about the travail of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and family, and the continued detention of a Nigerian citizen, a distinguished and serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, since 21st June 2022. We just submitted a protest letter to the UK High Commission over Ekweremadu’s continued detention.

“A fair application of the justice system presupposes justice for all the parties involved in any matter, including the accused. It presupposes innocence until proven guilty. These fine principles of the law guarantee the fundamental human rights of every accused.

“We are therefore concerned about the continued detention over a clearly bailaible offence. By their schedule over there, Senator Ekweremadu’s real trial to determine his innocence or otherwise begins will begin in May 2023 by which time he would have spent one year behind bars.

“Worse still, we gather that the British authorities are also poised to charge Senator Ekweremadu’s ailing daughter to court on the same matter. This is most disturbing, especially as we had expected the UK authorities to be more humane and more concerned about the treatment and recovery of the poor lady.

“We are then moved to ask: Where is the humanity in all of this? Where is human right in all of this? Where is the presumption of innocence for the accused? Would Nigerian government subject a UK Member of Parliament to the same shabby treatments and protracted detention on a clearly bailable offence under similar circumstance? More so, if such a UK parliamentarian had written to the Nigeria High Commission to fully disclose the purpose of the organ donor’s trip, including the particular hospital where the case would be handled?

“We therefore appeal to the UK Government to grant Senator Ike Ekweremadu bail. The claim by his prosecutors that he is a flight risk is far from the truth, as the Ekweremadu we know, being a legislator of international acclaim, will be more interested in the recovery of his daughter, establishing his innocence, and reclaiming his reputation”.

The group, which said they could have been at the High Commission in their thousands, but for the security alert in Abuja, equally enjoined the UK authorities to note that Ekweremadu did what every responsible parent would do under the same circumstance.

“It is laughable to define a man like Ekweremadu as a flight risk. To go where? It is laughable, it is laughable.

“As a father of a special child, my son, for example has hydrocephalus. He is 17. He does not walk. He is cognitively challenged. And there is nothing I will not do within my means, legitimately, I will not do to secure his wellbeing. And it is for this reason I totally empathise. And like so many Nigerians, we totally empathise with this very unfortunate situation.

“So, we also appeal to the UK Government to consider the noble cause of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, being a natural instinct and spirited effort of a loving and responsible father to save the life of his daughter. This is something any other responsible parent could have done”.

The group also called on the Nigerian government to be more assertive on the Senator’s matter, stressing, “if this could happen to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, it could happen to anyone”.

“What we are doing here today, our stand here is not for Ekweremadu alone; it is for all Nigerians. When dangerous precedents are set, when very unfortunate precedents are set, we are setting ourselves up”, Mr. Sawa added.

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