Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has revealed that he represented the leader of Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo, and other groups like the Niger Delta Avengers not because he believed in the breakup of Nigeria but because he believed in the right to self-determination.
Keyamo stated this while speaking on NTA programme,‘One-on-One,’ recently.
He further said no one could lecture him about human rights because the Supreme Court had said human rights should take the back seat when the nation’s unity is involved.
“No one can stand before me and tell me about human rights. I have seen everything. I represented almost all the separatist groups in this country – MASSOB, Niger Delta Volunteers Force, the Niger Delta Avengers.
“I represented all of them in court. When Asari Dokubo was arrested, when he was calling for the division at that time and all that, I didn’t support the division of course, let me be clear. I was only talking about the right to self-determination.
“I was shouting human rights in the Supreme Court. What did the Supreme Court tell me to my face? I did that iconic case. They said Mr. Keyamo, when national security is involved and the unity of this country, human rights takes second place. That is what the Supreme Court told me. I did that case,” the minister said.
Keyamo was in January 2003 designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International for his activities as the leader of Movement for the Actualisation of the Future Republic of the Niger Delta.
Keyamo, who now serves in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, slammed the media for giving its platform to elements of disunity.He said journalists must put patriotism ahead of professionalism.
Keyamo said those calling for secession were being sponsored by those who could not defeat Buhari at the polls.