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Human rights lawyer, Effiong petitions IGP over illegal detention of cleric

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A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba over the unlawful arrest and continued detention of one Apostle Kassy Chukwu, the founder of Peniel of God’s Power International Ministries situated in Benin, Edo State by the Nigeria Police Force.

In a statement signed by the human rights activist and obtained by our correspondent on Monday, the cleric was first arrested by the NPF on 5th May 2022 and rearrested by officers of the Force from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) on 6th July 2022.

He said the suspect has remained in the custody of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) Abuja since then.

The statement explained that the cleric was arrested at the instance of one Prophet Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin, the founder of Christ Mercy land Deliverance Ministry, Warri, Delta State following his(Apostle Kassy) comments on Facebook, which Prophet Fufeyin found defamatory.

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Effiong, however, wondered why Prophet Fufeyin was yet to institute a civil suit against Apostle Kassy for defamation in a competent court of law but resorted to unlawful detention through the instrumentality of police officials.

He called on the IGP to order the immediate release of the cleric and conduct an investigation into the matter.

The statement read in parts, “The arrest and detention of Apostle Kassy is based on a complaint by Prophet Jeremiah to the police. He claims that he was defamed by Apostle Kassy in comments he purportedly made on Facebook.

“Irrespective of the allegations made against Apostle Kassy, it is unacceptable that the Nigeria Police Force has once again allowed itself to be used as a tool of oppression and attainment of a personal vendetta by an influential member of the society.

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On Sunday, 10th July 2022, the Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, went to the FCIID in Abuja and sought to see Apostle Kassy but was flagrantly denied access to him. He was also not allowed to give him the food that he bought for him.

“Every suspect in custody has a right to visitation. Every person is presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty as provided for in Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution. The continued detention of Apostle Kassy is a blatant violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as enshrined in Section 35 of the Constitution. The police should know that there is a price to pay for impunity and violation of the rights of citizens.

”It is scandalous that the INTERPOL, a body which is established to curtail serious international crimes, has been thoroughly abused in Nigeria and is being deployed by every Tom, Dick and Harry to settle personal scores. This is reprehensible and condemnable.

“One wonders why Prophet Jeremiah has not filed a civil suit against Apostle Kassy for defamation in a competent court of law but prefers to use the instrumentality of the police to witch hunt him.

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“I call on the Inspector General of Police to direct the immediate release of Apostle Kassy and cause an investigation to be carried out into the abuse of police powers in this case. We cannot continue to condone the vicious weaponization of the Nigeria Police Force for sinister purposes by individuals who feel they have money to throw around.”

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