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Release Uwazurike and Dokubo

Posted by By The Sun Publishing on 2007/02/15 | Views: 978 |

Release Uwazurike and Dokubo


The continued detention and trial of two ethnic militia leaders, Chief Ralph Uwazurike of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Alhaji Mujaheed Asari Dokubo of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) raises a lot of question on our selective sense of justice.

The continued detention and trial of two ethnic militia leaders, Chief Ralph Uwazurike of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Alhaji Mujaheed Asari Dokubo of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) raises a lot of question on our selective sense of justice.

These men alongside Dr. Fredrick Fasehun and Alhaji Gani Adams of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) were, last year, arrested, detained and arraigned for charges bordering on state security and treasonable offences on the order of the Federal Government.

While Fasehun and Adams have since regained their individual freedoms, albeit, on legal technicalities, Uwazurike and Dokubo are not only still in detention, the federal government is still going on with their trials. In fact, Dokubo’s case came up for hearing a couple of weeks ago and was adjourned to March 2007 after Dokubo had verbally assaulted the trial judge over his continued detention in solitary confinement in disregard of a court order that he should be placed in police custody rather than that of the State Security Service (SSS).

The government’s decision to release the duo of Fasehun and Adams, no matter the consideration, without extending such gesture to Uwazurike and Dokubo puts a question mark on the propriety of the action and the legal framework that guided it.

The selective justice exhibited by the Obasanjo government in this case is a clear illustration of the rule of the thumb and the jettisoning of the grundnorm on which our legal system especially the criminal justice system and adjudication is built. This legalistic lacuna especially in the case of Uwazurike has demonstrated beyond all shades of doubt that we have no equitable justice system. Justice in our clime is often interpreted to suit the whims and caprices of the ‘Lord of the Manor.’


There is no justification whatsoever for the differential treatment for all the people charged with the same offence. The government’s double standard in this case is not only ethnic and political, it is also inhuman and immoral. It flies in the face of truth, equity and good conscience on which our laws are built.

What the government has shown by this action is that it has not actually proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt against the suspects. It appears that the government is stuck in this matter. The Niger Delta militants whose onslaught on foreign oil workers has not abated since the detention of Dokubo have given his unconditional release as one of the pre-conditions for cessation of hostilities in the region. It is also common knowledge that the nation’s economy has stagnated since the spate of violence and disruption of oil activities in the region. All the government’s strategies in containing the militants and other political agitators have apparently failed.

The government’s concept of justice in this matter is arbitrary and therefore unacceptable. We hold that what is applicable to the OPC leaders should equally apply to other ethnic militant leaders held for the same offence. We frown on this discriminatory application of law. We insist that our laws must be diligently applied irrespective of the tribe and creed of the suspects. Let Obasanjo use the release of Uwazurike and Dokubo as his administration’s parting gift to the nation because the objective of holding them has not worked.



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