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Nigerians in Abidjan to protest businessman's detention

04 March 2014, 17:16

Abidjan - The Association of Nigerian Youths in Cote D’ivoire are to stage a protest at the Spanish Embassy over the continued detention of a Nigerian businessman, Hope  Ekwueme.

Its President, Bright Moses, in Abidjan on Monday that the planned protest was to denounce the continued detention of Ekwueme without an authentic arrest warrant.

An Accusation Tribunal in Abidjan had on Feb. 26, ordered that Ekwueme, an indigene of Anambra, be extradited to Spain.

Ekwueme, the Managing Director of a Lagos-based firm, East Ocean Oil and Gas Limited, was arrested at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny International Airport on October 31, 2013, on allegations of fraud and money laundering in Spain.

Moses said that Nigerians in Cote D’ivoire would embark on the protest as a way calling on the authorities to ensure that the Nigerian was given a fair hearing.

"Lawyers consulted on this matter have pleaded before the court that there is no legal arrest warrant on the Nigerian.

"There is also no court order declaring him wanted; the INTERPOL office here in Abidjan has also said that they do not have his name on the wanted list.’’

He said that Nigerians would remain resilient in demanding that Ekwueme’s right under the law be respected.

Moses said that the Nigerian Embassy in Cote D’ivoire had also written officially to the host country, demanding that Ekwueme’s right under the law be protected.

In a letter to the police authorities seeking approval for the protest, the body pledged to obey relevant laws governing peaceful protests in the country.

"We seek your approval to carry out a peaceful protest at the Embassy of Spain over the illegal detention of a Nigerian, Mr Hope Ekwueme,

"We are a legally recognised body of Nigerians; we shall ensure full compliance with the laws governing protest in the country,'' the letter read in part.

-  NAN

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