Falana, Loremikan Tell Buhari, Navy To Release Naval Chief, Others Held In Underground Cell

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Femi Falana and human rights activist, Sina Loremikan in separate statements have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene over the detention without trial of a serving Navy personnel Navy Captain Dada Labinjo.

Captain Labinjo, his wife Lt Commander Sherifat Lambert were arrested in 2018 alongside members of his crew numbering 20.

Although Labinjo’s wife and 13 of his crew members have now been released, the Navy Captain and seven others are still held in a “terrible” detention facility before before he was transfered to a Directorate of Defence Intelligence (DDI) cell in Abuja.

Loremikan while speaking to the media about the incident maintained that the continued detention of Labinjo and crew is in violation of a lawful order of court.

The Federal High Court presided over by C. J Aneke had in February made an order to release the detainees of which the Navy has refused to obey. Even the N1 million awarded by the court for violating the rights of the detainees have not been paid.

Loremikan lamented that although the Navy unlawfully dismissed Labinjo and wife, the court came to their rescue and ordered their re-instatement but up till now, the order of court has also not been obeyed.

The Navy appealed the judgement up to the Supreme Court and lost, however the man and his wife are yet to be reabsorbed.

“All efforts to get the Navy to respect the rights and pronouncements of the court have met with silence,” Loremikan regretted.

He also alleged that the vessel in which the naval officer and his crew were arrested are yet to be released to the family.

The human rights activist also alleged that since Labinjo’s arrest no family member, lawyer or doctor has been allowed to see him.

On his part, Falana alleged that the Nigerian Navy has continued to detain over 150 citizens for several months without trial for undisclosed criminal offences. While some of the detainees have recently been released not less than 67 others are still held incommunicado in Lagos.

“Specifically, 10 of the detainees are held inside a vessel in Lagos while 57 others are detained in the NNS Beecroft Cell, Apapa, Lagos.

“We have also confirmed that Navy Captain Dada Labinjo is still being detained at an underground cell in the Directorate of Defence Intelligence (DDI), Abuja in defiance of the judgment of the Federal High Court which has declared his detention illegal and unconstitutional,” the senior lawyer restated.

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