Osmond Ugwu and Raphael Elobuike are Nigerian labour activists and human rights defenders currently spending their second month in Enugu Federal Prison in South East Nigeria. They are being detained on charges of attempted murder of a policeman following their arrest at a workers rally on 24th October 2011 at Enugu.
Osmond and Raphael, who Amnesty International regards as Prisoners of Conscience, have both been beaten and tortured during their arrest and while in police custody. Osmond has suffered considerable physical and psychological harassment and intimidation in the course of his human rights and labour activism. These include punitive transfer and eventual termination of his employment by the government; constant threat to his life, detention and imprisonment.
As the Chairman of the Enugu state chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Osmond has consistently remained non violence in his human rights activism. As the leader of the Enugu State Workers Forum (EWF), Osmand mobilised workers for strikes, peaceful marches, demonstration and work boycott as a means of achieving their aims.
As fellow fighters for human rights in Nigeria, we are calling on the governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, to immediately release Osmond Ugwu and Raphael Elobuike and drop all charges against them. Fearing the physical safety of Osmund, who is at risk of possible assasination attempts, we also seek government protection of him.
Read Amnesty International's public statement
Release prisoners of conscience Osmond Ugwu/ Raphael Elobuke Now
I write in respect of Osmond Ugwu, and Raphael Elobuike, two human rights defenders currently spending their second month in Enugu Federal Prison following their arrest at a workers rally on 24th October 2011at Enugu, South East Nigeria.
I am concerned at the continued incarceration of the two activists and the resolve of the Enugu state government to ensure that they remain in prison.
I am convinced that the fate of Osmond Ugwu and Raphael Elobuike are directly linked to their work as activists and leaders of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) and Enugu State Workers Forum as well as their views on labour and human rights issues in Enugu state, Nigeria.
I am aware that the two activists had at no time openly advocated or employed violence in the cause of their campaign.
I therefore demand that the charges be immediately dropped against Osmond Ugwu and Raphael Elobuike and the withdrawal of all charges against them.