Tuesday, 6 March 2018


from Chuks Collins, Awka

March 5,2018

The American Bar Association (ABA)has shown committed interest and actually taken up the case of unlawful arrest and illegal detention of the Elombah brothers.
The brothers who are journalists and publishers of the popular website-Elombah.comincludes Daniel Elombah, a London-based lawyer, and his sibling Timothy -a Nigeria-based journalist, who were whisked away in a criminal fashion by the police in the early hours of the new year day from their village in Nnewi were on March 1,2018 charged for cyber crime-cyber stalking/cyber bullying Nigeria's Inspector General of Police(IGP), and terrorism leveled against them by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris.
The Sub-Saharan Africa Center for Human Rights staff Attorney, of the American Bar Association, Mrs. Mooya Nyaundi ‏had in a mail written the Elombahs seeking their consent to intervene fully on their behalf in the matter.
According to Nyaundi, her office had been following the case against Daniel and Tim Elombah with keen interest and that the ABA Center for Human Rights, through its Justice Defenders program (JD) was in a position to assist in this case.
During the formal arraignment Thursday, March 1,2018, at the Federal High Court 5, Abuja, the ABA sent a representative, Barrister Eze Eluchie, to monitor proceedings requesting to be furnished with detailed update.
Mrs. Nyaundi, has assured that she will be physically present to monitor the proceedings during the next adjourned date of May 3, 2018, to assess the case by herself.
ABA JusticeDefenders had noted in its social media wall shortly after the March 1,2018 proceedings, “ABA trial observer reports from #Nigeria arraignment of Journalists @Elombah & @ElsTimmy: Both pleaded not guilty to all charges including cyber-crime and terrorism. They’ve been granted bail, case is adjourned to 3 May, 2018. ABA will continue monitoring their trial @angelaquintal @CPJAfrica.
“The ABA Center for Human Rights has sent an observer to #Nigeria to monitor the trial of @ElsTimmy and @Elombah to ensure that their legal harassment does not result in continued judicial harassment. We will seek to ensure they are given a fair trial, free of violations.”
Mrs. Nyaundi explained that the Justice Defenders Program was an emergency response program that provides pro bono legal assistance to human rights advocates facing retaliation for their legitimate human rights work.
According to her, “JD provides a range of assistance, including technical legal assistance and advocacy, which can be tailored to the needs in a specific case and country”.
She narrated some potential ways in which the JD Program supports human rights advocates as follows:
a) “Providing pro bono technical legal support to local counsel representing political prisoners, protesters, journalists, and others who are facing retaliation for exercising and defending basic rights.
Our pro bono lawyers with expertise in a particular area of law, such as freedom of expression or assembly, can prepare research and analysis into comparative and international law and consult on potential litigation strategies.
b) “Conduct trial monitoring by sending observers in the name of the ABA.
“Trial observations encourage the courts to respect fair trial rights and also help to raise the profile of a case as part of our advocacy efforts.
c) “Recruit pro bono lawyers to represent detained human rights defenders at regional and international bodies, such as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention or the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and to assist in international advocacy and campaign work.
“In addition, the Program’s pro bono legal experts are available to support efforts to revise and challenge laws that are affecting the ability of advocates to operate, such as overly broad counterterrorism or public order acts that impermissibly restrict the legitimate exercise of basic rights, such as freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
“For example, our independent experts have analyzed such laws and then provided recommendations to government officials and/or national civil society groups to take forward in order to bring the laws into conformity with international standards,” she added.
Also, another international group -the Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) Africa has retweeted on its handle @CPJAfrica, statement by its Program Coordinator Angela Quintal,@AngelaQuintal, from New York:
“#Nigeria: “Timothy and Daniel Elombah are journalists and not terrorists who should be free to continue their #journalism without legal harassment or fear of going to jail. Authorities should drop all legal proceedings against them.”
See below, the attached a copy of the letter addressed to the Federal High Court indicating intents to observe the case:



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