UPDATE: Earlier this week, we posted a release about Mrs. Justinah Ojo, who was abducted in Nigeria. Friends of the Earth International sent along this update, stating that Mrs. Justinah Ojo has been released and is safe. Read on to see the letter from Friends of the Earth International, and the original release below.
we have just got news that Ms. Justina Ojo, Godwin’s wife, has been released and that she is safe. More details will come soon from ERA, be patient as they all need some rest tonight, as same as Justina, of course.
Thank you all wonderful people and organisations who helped to put an international pressure to the Nigerian authorities, thank you for the quick response and true solidarity. I am so proud of this Federation. As saying says, true friends are known in time of trouble, and indeed, there are not better friends than Friends of the Earth (and of course Friends of the FOEI – or our allies). And not to forget, thanks to IS and Erik to act in true comradeship spirit.
Godwin, my dear brother, such a relief. I am sending you a virtual hug. And people of ERA, I admire you for the agility and hard work.
Dear FOEI, your proved how real solidarity matters!
I apologize, if this email is not the most coherent, but to be honest with you, I am bit overwhelmed with emotions and tearful.
Friends of the Earth International
Demand the Release of Mrs. Justinah Ojo, Abducted in Nigeria
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the abductors of Justina Ojo to release her unconditionally and unharmed. Justina Ojo is the wife of the current executive director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo.
ERA/FoEN also urged the Nigeria Police to do all within its statutory powers to ensure that she is located and returned to her family in good health.
Justina was whisked away by unknown gunmen at about 8pm on Monday February 22, 2016 in front of their Benin City residence and the abductors are yet to contact the family at the time of this release.
In a release issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN deputy director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said the incident was highly regrettable when viewed in the light of the modest lifestyle and humility of the Uyi Ojo family and particularly Ojo’s selfless service in the environment community.
Oluwafemi said that, “We feel this should not be the lot of a woman who has been very humble and has stood firmly behind her husband in his campaigns for a just society. It is truly regrettable
Ojo has sacrificed a lot to ensure social justice particularly for communities in the Niger Delta and other impacted communities of the Niger Delta. He does not dersve this agony.
Going further, he pointed out that, though the Nigeria Police has been up to task in nipping some high profile crimes in the society, abductions have remained on the increase hence the need for the police to do more in this area.
“We urge the abductors to do a total rethink and release Justina unharmed. We also ask international NGOs to pile pressure on the Nigerian police to locate Justina Ojo. The Ojo family does not deserve this trauma. Certainly not at this time or ever”, Oluwafemi noted.
Contact Numbers for Nigerian Officials
- Call Edo State Governor Mr. Adams Oshiomhole at +234 805 555 4448 to let him know that people all over the world are urging action on the part of local officials to ensure Justina’s safe and immediate return. Call between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm Nigeria time (between 3 am and 1 pm Eastern Standard Time) and use a cell phone or landline, NOT Skype or other web-based number.
- Call the Edo State Police Commissioner Mr. Chris Ezike at +234 706 567 9050 to urge him to take all necessary action to return Justina safely and immediately. Call between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm Nigeria time (between 3 am and 1 pm Eastern Standard Time) and use a cell phone or landline, NOT Skype or other web-based number–as they will not accept your call.
- Call the Edo State Police Control at +234 805 677 6365 and urge them to take all necessary action to return Justina safely and immediately. Call between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm Nigeria time (between 3 am and 1 pm Eastern Standard Time) and use a cell phone or landline, NOT Skype or other web-based number.
TEMPLATE FOR REACHING OUT TO PUBLIC OFFICIALS
I am contacting you with an urgent request for assistance to help Justinah Ojo, who was kidnapped at gunpoint on Monday evening in Nigeria. We have reason to believe the kidnapping was politically motivated, and related to Justina’s husband’s human rights and environmental work.
Justinah Ojo (a Nigerian citizen) was kidnapped at gunpoint on Monday evening as she arrived at her home in Benin City. The Benin City police have been notified and are following up, but international attention will help increase the chances of her safe return.
Justinah is the wife of Godwin Ojo (Nigerian citizen), the Executive Director of the human rights and environmental organization Environmental Rights Action – Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA) — and is a prominent environmentalist and movement leader. ERA was founded by the legal counsel who defended Ken Saro Wiwa, a renowned environmentalist who was executed, and ERA is unfortunately no stranger to persecution.
While Justinah is a Nigerian citizen, these matters do have bearing on [YOUR COUNTRY] interests. ERA is a well known non-profit with international funding and repute.
Your timely intervention could help save her life and provide critical protection for human rights defenders in the region. I am writing to urgently request that you contact the Nigerian government – including high level officials and the Nigerian embassy – to express concern over this case, and ask about what steps are being taken to ensure Justinah’s safe return.
Please help Nigerian civil society stand up to intimidation and defend human rights.
I cannot thank you enough for your urgent attention to this matter.
With heartfelt gratitude,