Monday, October 10, 2011
Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
A CALL FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CASE OF A NIGERIAN (COMRADE SUNNY OFEHE), PRESENTLY UNDERGOING TRIAL FOR ALLEGED TERRORIST ACTS IN THE NETHERLANDS
We write as solicitors to Comrade Sunny Ofehe (hereinafter referred to as our client).
Our client is a Nigerian and a human and environmental rights activist and the founder of a non-governmental organisation based in the Netherlands known as ‘Hope for Niger-Delta Campaign’. Our client’s organisation is at the fore-front of raising international awareness about the environmental degradation and human rights abuses in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.
Although, our client founded the said organisation in the year 2005, he has been resident in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, since 1995, without having any problem with law enforcement agencies.
Our client’s present ordeal in the hands of the Dutch authorities commenced on the 22nd of February, 2011, following his arrest by the Dutch Police on initial charges of “human trafficking, fraud and providing false information to assist a political asylum seeker”.
Coincidentally, our client’s arrest on the 22nd of February, 2011, came on the heels of his public testimony against oil giant (Shell) and its exploration activities in the Niger-Delta at a forum organised by the Dutch Parliament in January 2011.
Prior to that testimony, our client facilitated a trip by a member of the Dutch Parliament to the Niger-Delta region sometime in December 2010, to have first- hand information on the extent of the environmental degradation by oil companies operating in the region as well as the predicament it has foisted on residents of the Niger-Delta region.
Another coincidence to the February 22, 2011 arrest of our client was that it came on the eve of his return to Nigeria to participate in the funeral rites of his mother who was assassinated sometime in October, 2007 by yet-to-be- apprehended assassins.
As a result of this string of coincidence, it is our client’s firm conviction that some “powerful forces”, both in the Netherlands and Nigeria, are actively involved in his present ordeal with the Dutch authorities.
To further confirm our client’s suspicion, following the inability of the Dutch authorities to sustain the charge of human trafficking earlier slammed on him, a new charge of “conspiracy to commit terror act by blowing pipelines belonging to Shell in Nigeria” has been added to the existing charges.
With the inclusion of this charge, our client becomes the first offender to be prosecuted under this law in the entire Netherlands.
We respectfully call on you, to use your good offices to intervene and see that the persecution of our client by the Dutch Authority is terminated or, at least, that the Nigeria government is fully briefed as to what is happening to our client in the Netherlands. We also pray you to cause a thorough investigation into the allegations leveled against him.
We find it extremely curious and embarrassing that, so far, the Nigerian government knows nothing about the trial of a Nigerian citizen in a foreign land accused of planning such a horrendous act as “blowing of pipelines” in Nigeria. It smacks of intimidation and persecution.
As his solicitors, we shall assist your office in its effort to get to the roots of his ordeal in the hands of the Dutch authorities.
FESTUS KEYAMO, ESQ.
Head of Chambers
The Senate President,
The Honourable Minister,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,