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Ighilorhiowhunu: UN Commences Investigation Into Child Rights Activist’s Arbitrary Detention By Judicial Officials



Activist Writes Open Letter To Gov. Oborevwori Over Detention Of Aghogho Ighorhiohwunu

The United Nations has commenced investigation into the Arbitrary Detention of Aghogho Ighilorhiowhunu by Nigeria’s Judicial Officials.

The office of the United Nations’ (UN)Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria has receipted a Petition from a pro-democracy and human right organisation,Take-It-Back Movement on the Arbitrary Detention of Aghogho by officials of the Nigeria’s judiciary.

The Movement in a Petition dated 2 December 2023 ,titled “in the matter of your urgent attention in the Arbitrary Detention of Ighorhiohwunu Aghogho under the watch of the Chief Justice of Nigeria,Hon. Olukayode Ariwoola over call to probe child trafficking/illegal adoption of children in Delta State being perpetrated by state Actors of the Delta State Government.

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The Petition was marked for the urgent attention of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria,Mr. Mathias Schmale.

The UN Working Group has the mandate to investigate cases of deprivation of liberty imposed arbitrarily or inconsistently with the international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or the international legal instruments accepted by the States concerned.

The Working Group investigates alleged cases of arbitrary detention by sending urgent appeals and communications to concerned Governments to clarify and/or bring their attention to these cases.

The Delta State Chapter Coordinator of Take-It-Back Movement, Ighilorhiowhunu Aghogho has filed for the dismissal of the frivolous cyber stalking charges preferred against him by one P.N. Etumudon Esq at the Registry of the Warri Division of the Federal High Court on 30 October 2023.

A Compensation of N500billion naira has be sought by Aghogho from the court on the alleged vexatious and false detention.

Spokesperson of the organisation,Comrade Awipi Teduolo in a statement disclosed this while giving updates on the incarceration of her State Coordinator over his call to probe child trafficking in Delta State on 12 December 2023.

Teduolo said the organisation will drag no fewer than 25 lawyers associated with the case from investigation to prosecution before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee(LPDC) for ‘conducts unbecoming.

“The interest of children should be paramount to all and sundry “.

Teduolo gave the updates to calm the nerves of Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) and Human Rights Advocates in the state and within the country.

It noted that, though Aghogho has been in incarceration at the Federal Correctional Centre(Prison) in Okere- Warri for over 18months now over his call to probe child trafficking in the state,his moral is not low and the movement is doing everything possible to ensure his release as soon as the Federal High Court,Warri Judicial Division resumes on January 8,2024.

According to the organisation,”The charges being Federal Charges were filed by one P.N Etumudon Esq who is not working in the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) and the charge sheet were filed without a fiat/authorisation

“It is most likely that P.N Etumudon Esq impersonated the HAGF in filing the trump up charges at registry of the Federal High Court

“The HAGF has advice that the charges filed by P.N Etumudon Esq be dismissed through a legal advice dated 12 December 2022 ,reference DDPA/AGHOGHO/673/22.

“The HAGF via a letter a letter dated 3 April 2022 has said his office has no record of arrest of children in Delta State despite the provision of the law mandating the Delta State Commissioner of Police to transfer records of arrest to the office of the HAGF. The HAGF has directed we should hold the Delta State Judiciary and Ministry of Women Affairs accountable.

“The Movement had requested from the record of arrest of children between 1991 through 2022 from the HAGF inline with the provision of the law requiring every state police command to establish a criminal Records Registry which shall keep and transmit all of such records to the central criminal Records Registry.

“According to Aghogho, the allegation of child trafficking levelled against the officials of Delta State Judiciary, Ministry of Women Affairs and the Commissioner of Police Delta State by AGHOGHO has been substantiated by the Director of the National Population Commission (NPC) Asaba, Mr. Aki Emmanuel Z. affirming via a letter dated 16/2/2022 referenced DT/A154/51O that the information requested by the Police is not within the jurisdiction of the NPC’s office and therefore the NPC does not have such records and cannot be within its purvey.

“The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department Asaba -Delta State, ACP Garba Isah had requested for the Delta State Adopted Children Register, a register created by law containing the entries of legally adopted children in Delta State via a letter dated 14/2/2022 referenced AR: 3000/DTS/X/D10/VOL 4.

“That the Child’s Rights Act 2003 vide section 142 provides that the court in granting adoption order ought to have received an application from prospective Adopters and their lawyers and direct the National Population Commission to record the adoption order in the Delta State Child Adopted Register but these particular provisions of the law have been violated by the Delta State Judiciary for the purpose of child trafficking. The Registrar, National Population Commission is the legal custodian of the Delta State Adopted Children Register.”

While still waiting on the immediate action of the chief justice of Nigeria,Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on the outcome of the National Judicial Council (NJC)on the panel constituted to investigate the complaints relating to Aghogho brought before the Council,the organisation said the entire human rights community in Nigeria are urged to exercise restraint cautioning that their agitation and solidarity should be within the ambit of the law as victory is sure in the end.

Advocating further,”there is no basis for the arbitrary detention of Aghogho since there are no verifyable records of the children adopted by the Delta State Government and moreso, Aghogho was only alleged of defaming the characters of the complainant but not yet proven guilty as the said offence is bailable.”


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