From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
A group known as National Council of Tiv Youths has lamented over the continued detention of former Governor of Benue State Hon. Gabriel Suswam.
The group which held a press conference yesterday at Hallidays Hotels in Makurdi, Benue State capital, demanded for the unconditional release of Suswam from detention or be charged to the courts of law which are the institution of state vested with the powers to determine whether a citizen is guilty of having breached the law or not in all situations.
Leader of the group, Chief John Akperashi noted that Suswam was invited by the DSS to their headquarters in Abuja last Tuesday and, as a law-abiding citizen, he had honoured the invitation, but has remained in detention till date without stating why they are holding him in their custody, neither have they charged him before any court of law.
He averred that Suswam’s detention is a clear violation of his fundamental rights as a free citizen of Nigeria entitled to justice under the laws of the country.
The group therefore called on the Tor Tiv as father of Tiv nation to muster all powers and influence vested to him on behalf of the Tiv race to ensure that no harm befalls Suswam as a son of Tiv, and that he is released from detention.
They posited that Governor Samuel Ortom should have nothing to fear from the agitations of this body which in this particular instance is calling for the release of Suswam by the DSS, or that they should charge him to court instead of keeping him in perpetual detention without trial.
“We are law-abiding Benue citizens of Tiv extraction desirous of the peace and progress of our land, and our agitations in this regard are genuine, peaceful and being made conscious of the negative impact that Suswam’s continued incarceration will have on Tiv unity and collective strength.
“We call on the governor, and indeed, all Tiv sons ans daughters, of all status, to be mindful that for us to survive as a race, we must stand together in the face of the grave security challenges confronting us as a people presently.
“That all people of good conscience, within and outside the boundaries of Nigeria, should condemn the arrest and continued detention of Suswam and equally demand for his release, considering the potentially negative consequences to the country’s relatively young and growing democracy, should this dangerous trend of arbitrary arrests and incarceration of opposition leaders in the country be allowed to continue unchecked.
“We call on the Tiv nation and Nigerians at large to be prepared to stand up and defend their rights and freedoms against all forms of excesses from government, because good governance and a free society will not be given to us as a gift by any leader, but it will be the product of our vigilance and tenacity in resisting tyranny and demanding justice at all times for one and all citizens, under a system regulated by the rule of law,” the National Council of Tiv Youths urged.