Salam moves first motion, makes strong case against persecution of Prof. Nwagbara

The Honorable Member representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/Ejigbo in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bamidele Salam today moved a motion emphasizing the urgent need for the FG to intervene in the undue harassment of Nigerians in diaspora.

The details of the motion are shown below:

Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Intervene in the Unwarranted Harassment, Intimidation and Persecution of Professor Austin Uzoma Nwagbara and Other Nigerians by Ghanaian Authorities:

Hon. Bamidele Salam:

The House:

Notes that the United Nations Charter on Human and Fundamental Rights guarantees the right to freedom of opinion and expression as a fundamental human right;

Also notes recent media reports on the termination of the appointment of Professor Austin Nwagbara, a professor of English Language who was on sabbatical at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana over comments he made in a video about the educational systems in Ghana and Nigeria;

Informed that Article 3 of the Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility states that “No African intellectual shall, in any way, be persecuted, harassed or intimidated for reasons only of his or her intellectual work, opinion, gender, nationality or ethnicity”;

Also informed that Article 4 of the Kampala Declaration provides that “Every African intellectual shall enjoy the freedom of movement within his or her country and freedom to travel outside and re-enter the country without let, hindrance or harassment and that no administrative or any other action shall directly or indirectly restrict this freedom on account of a person’s intellectual opinions, beliefs or activity”;

Concerned that the intimidation, harassment and unlawful detention of Professor Nwagbara is a gross violation of his fundamental human right as well as the Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility;

Also concerned about the incessant intimidation and harassment of Nigerians carrying on their legitimate businesses in Ghana, and if not addressed, may pose dire consequences for Nigeria-Ghana Relations and the Ghanaian Community in Nigeria;

Resolves to:

(i) Condemn, in strong terms, the unwarranted harassment, intimidation and illegal detention of the erudite Professor Austine Uzoma Nwagbara by Ghanaian Authorities;

(ii) urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to intervene in the matter and ensure that other Nigerians living in Ghana are not denied their fundamental human rights;

(iii) mandate the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (when constituted) to ensure compliance.

Debate
Hon. Bamidele Salam Moved the Motion on the harassment, intimidation and sack of Prof. Austin Nwagbara by Ghanaian Authorities and it was Seconded by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.

The incident under reference, according to Hon. Salam is a gross violation of the rights of the Professor and a violation of the spirit and terms of the Kampala declaration on intellectual freedom and social responsibility of which both Nigeria and Ghana are signatories. He added that If not resolved, the matter is capable of setting a tone for intimidation and harrasment of other Nigerian academics in Ghana and rupturing the close relationship between the two countries. Hon Salam urged the House to step into the matter and ensure that no Nigerian living in any part of the world is further subjected to any form of harrasment on account of expressing personal opinion that do not violate any known law.

In his contribution, Hon. Benjamin Obidigwe bemoaned the way Nigerians are manhandled in other countries, including countries in Africa. He called on the the Foreign Affairs Ministry to fashion ways of protecting the rights of Nigerians abroad. He called for urgent actions to be taken.

Hon. Ganiyu Johnson in supporting the motion called on the House Committees on diaspora and foreign relations to first investigate the circumstances before sending a strong-worded letter to the ministries of diaspora and foreign affairs, so as not to be jumping the gun.

Hon. Julius Ihonvbere condemned the ill-treatment of Nigerians worldwide, and said the fact that the affected individual is a senior academic personality should give him some form of respect in treatment and benefit of doubt.

The Motion was Voted on and Passed.

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