Nigeria: Police violate Owerri women’s right to peaceful protest

Responding to the arrest and detention of 114 Owerri women protestors who had been peacefully demanding the whereabouts of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu, Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said:
“The arrest and mistreatment of 114 pro-Biafra women protestors on 17 August in Owerri Imo state is unacceptable and a shocking violation of their rights. The Nigerian authorities must release the women unconditionally and investigate reported cases of assault and other forms of ill-treatment in the course of the arrests.”
“Hastily charging the women with treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit felony, and terrorism is an unacceptable use of the judicial process, which is designed to strip them of their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
“So far there is no evidence to indicate that the protesting women had committed any acts that would justify their arrest or the criminal charges. The use of tear gas by the police to disperse the women was also an unnecessary and disproportionate act.”
“We call on authorities to investigate the reckless handling of the protests by the police and hold the perpetrators to account. It is the duty of Nigerian government to protect the rights of citizens to peaceful protest.”
IPOB emerged in 2012 and campaigns for an independent Biafran state. Almost 50 years ago, an attempt to establish Biafra state led to a civil war from 1967 to 1970. In 2017 Nigerian government banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)