Ten leaders of the independence movement in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon could be at risk of torture and unfair trials if extradited from Nigeria, where they have been arrested and detained in secret for one week, Amnesty International said on Friday, January 12. The NGO is opposing the extradition of English-speaking leaders arrested in Nigeria on January 5th.
“On 5 January, armed men in plain clothes stormed a hotel in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja where the pro- independence activists were meeting, and arrested them without presenting a warrant or providing an explanation,” Amnesty International informed.
“They are being held incommunicado, without any access to a lawyer, in contravention of Nigerian law which demands they must be seen by a judge within 48 hours,” the report went on.
“Human rights lawyers in Nigeria have said that an extradition request has been made by the Cameroonian government, but no details have been made public.”
The separatist leaders in question were arrested 10 days ago, while holding a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s political capital. Up till date, the place of their detention remains a secret, with so many conflicting reports on the arrested. The Nigerian and Cameroonian government have been silent on their arrest. Harmony Bogba has been appointed as the new interim leader of the government of Southern Cameroon; a move showing that separatists in the North West and South West are not ready to give up the fight.
All those arrested were legally living in Nigeria, and some had been granted political asylum. Under Nigerian law, it would be illegal to extradite the activists for political crimes.