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Thursday 19 October 2017

Biafra: Outcry in court over the status of Bright Chimezie Ishinwa as family members begs FG, DSS to release him

Nigerian Govt. should please release him to us whether dead or alive - Brother
•His children are sick, they need him around - Wife
•We don’t know what the DSS has in mind, his matter was not mentioned in court today - Lawyer

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue and Chikwas Onu Ikpe | For Biafra Writers

October 19, 2017

ABUJA— There was a public outcry at the Federal High Court premises last Tuesday as the Nigerian secret police, the Department of State Services, DSS, for the umpteenth time, failed to produce a Biafra activist, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa in court.

Ishinwa, who was arrested earlier last year by agents of the DSS, arraigned in court on two-count charges of illegal importation of goods and conspiracy to commit treasonable felony which attracts five years imprisonment on conviction, was joined as the fifth defendant in the ongoing trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and three others.

His family members who appeared in court on Tuesday, expressed concern over the state of health and the failure of the DSS to produce him in court to stand trial, even after having being acquitted and discharged by a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Speaking to Biafra Writers’ Correspondents, one Orioha John, who claimed to be the brother of the detained Biafra activist said, “I traveled all the way from the East to Abuja Federal High Court, to witness the court case of my brother. I have not seen him among the four people that were detained. He is missing.

READ ALSO: Biafra: I don’t know where my client is, whether he’s dead or alive, I don’t know - Kanu’s Lawyer insists

“Please, I am using this opportunity, and also through the media to beg the Nigerian government to produce him [Bright Chimezie] whether he is dead or alive.”

In the same vein, wife of the detained activist, Mrs. Charity Inshinwa, decried the inability of the State Security to produce her husband in court, adding that his children are sick and seriously needs their father to return to them.

She said, “Since last year August, I’ve not met him, I’ve not been with him together with his children. He has four kids and his children need him around. I’ve not heard anything from him.

“Last time in Uyo, on 24th of July, this year, we waited for the whole day, they did not bring him to court.

“When the judge now granted him bail within 24 hours. Up till now, we’ve not seen or heard anything about him. It was even written in the newspapers that he has been released but up till now, we’ve not seen him. Am calling on them(DSS) to please release him, his children are sick.”

READ ALSO: Biafra: Outrage as Kanu’s absence in court breaches proceedings [Full Details]

Also, in a brief chat with Biafra Writers’ Correspondents, Ishinwa’s lawyer, Chukwudi Igwe, Esq., who represented him at the court session, said the DSS amended his client’s charges but was not mentioned in court.


Biafra Writers: Please can you tell us about your client’s amended charges and why he wasn’t brought to court today?

Chukwudi Igwe: The prosecution filed amended information, that they were supposed to bring to the knowledge of the court today. But they failed to do that. Bright Chimezie is still in the custody of the DSS.

At Federal High Court Uyo, there was an order given against the DSS, compelling them to release Bright Chimezie immediately. This they have not done. They are still holding on Bright Chimezie. I was in court today to ensure that I move a bail application which I have filed in favour of Bright Chimezie; to see that Bright Chimezie regains his freedom.

The amended information was not mentioned today; meaning that we were not able to bring our application up for the court to grant Bright Chimezie bail. We don’t know what the DSS has in mind on Bright Chimezie. What we are asking them to do is to either release him immediately or bring him before the court, so that we can apply for bail. In the charge they brought against him, the charges are such that are bailable - they are all bailable offences. So we are asking them to produce Bright Chimezie to court so that we can...

Biafra Writers: (cuts in) What are the charges?

Chukwudi Igwe: Yes. He was charged of illegal importation of goods, and also conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, which has five years imprisonment on conviction.

READ ALSO: Biafra: Fani-Kayode Blows Hot, Orders Nigerian Army “To Produce Kanu Alive Or Hand-over His Corpse”

Biafra Writers: Okay. How is your client health-wise? Is he okay?

Chukwudi Igwe: Well, I have not been granted access to Bright Chimezie. That is even the worst aspect of the whole thing. I do not even know the status of my client. We have not been granted access to Bright Chimezie even up till today.

Biafra Writers: I understand that there was a point in time when the DSS or the Federal government joined your client’s case to the suit of the other three defendants.

Chukwudi Igwe: Very well.

Biafra Writers: Speaking this morning, the Judge said (when you spoke) that he doesn’t have his [Bright Chimezie] case before him. What do you have to say about that?

Chukwudi Igwe: The document was filed but it was the duty of the Prosecution to bring it to the knowledge of the court. Since they did not bring down to the knowledge of the court, the court was not expected to bring it up on their own. That was why I was asking the court, that the court is not a dumping ground. That they should either move this application, inform the court about the amended information or in the alternative, abandon the information and have it struck out so that our client can gain his freedom.

Biafra Writers: What was the decision of the court on that, based on your motion?

Chukwudi Igwe: She was unable to make any decision because Bright Chimezie is not properly brought before the court.

Biafra Writers: Now, what is the condition of the family members of your client ever since he was incarcerated?

Chukwudi Igwe: They don’t even know. You can see the brother here. They don’t even know where the brother [Bright Chimezie] is. But we know as, at the last time, the Nigerian DSS took him away from his home on 14th of October, 2016. Ever since then, he has been in the custody of the DSS. We do not have access to Bright Chimezie. The family does not have access to Bright Chimezie; we cannot even tell the status of his health.

Biafra Writers: So apparently, no one knows if he is alive or dead?

Chukwudi Igwe: No one knows if he is alive or dead.

Published by THE BIAFRA TIMES 
CONTACT US: [email protected]

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