Monday, 8 March 2010

Nigerian rights defender faces false information charges in Gambia

Mr. Edwin Nebolisa Nwakaeme, director of programs at the Africa in Democracy and Good governance (ADG), was Monday charged with giving false information, at the Kanifing Magistrate Court, following his arrest and detention for some eight days.
Mr Nwakaeme however did not take his plea, and was reportedly escorted back to the police headquarters where he is being held. He is expected return to court next Wednesday.
The ADG boss was reportedly arrested by the police since Monday, 1st March, and detained at the serious Crime Unit at the Police Headquarters in Banjul.
According to reports, Nwakaeme was first arrested on Monday, 22 February this year by three plain clothes men from the Serekunda Police Station. Sources said that he was escorted to Kairaba Police Station, but later transferred to New Jeshwang Immigration Post where he was detained until Thursday, 25 February. Sources added that the following day he was recalled by personnel from the Serekunda Police Station who escorted him to the Police Headquarters in Banjul, only to be released in the evening without any charge.
Again, sources said, last Monday 1st March, the Gambia based Nigerian national was called by personnel of the Serious Crime Unit of the Gambian police and asked to report to the Police Headquarters where he was put under arrest up to this Monday when he first appeared in court, and got charged with giving false information.
There is no word from the arresting authorities surrounding the nature of Mr Nwakaeme, as to what knid of ‘false information’ he might have given or to whom.
An Observer who spoke to this paper say the police’s move, charging the accused without giving details about his crime, could be seen in the light of buying time to prevent condemnation for detaining the Nigerian beyond the 72 hour constitutional limit, while looking into making a stronger case.
The Gambian government has been at loggerheads with human rights defenders since President Yahya Jammeh past his alleged death threat to ‘saboteurs’ of his government. Source:

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