Sowore and others in court
By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
Some human rights activists, on Monday, warned the Federal Government to refrain from stoking the flames of civil unrest with the remand of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters, in Kuje Prison.
They also called for an immediate withdrawal of the criminal charges leveled against him before a Magistrate’s Court sitting in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
Recall that Sowore and four others were arrested during a peaceful protest peacefully on New Year’s eve and charged with Unlawful Assembly, Criminal Conspiracy, and Inciting Public Disturbance.
However, the human rights activists, in a joint press statement, described the attempt by the police to justify the allegations against the publisher and other protesters as “deepening the disenchantment of the people with the government.”
The statement co-signed by Adebayo Raphael (Free Nigeria Movement), Deji Adeyanju (Concerned Nigerians), and Ariyo-Dare Atoye (Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Constitution and Democracy) read in part: “By now, our expectation is that the Nigerian Government would have learned from the public outrage that defined the #EndSARS Protest, and the overwhelming disenchantment of the public which followed the unjustifiable brutalisation and the massacre of the protesters in October 2020.
“Increasingly, the fundamental rights of Nigerians to Peaceful Assembly and Freedom of Expression are being threatened by the regime of the President of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari. All our civic spaces have shrunk and all pretensions to respect democratic ideals have now been completely abandoned.
“By arresting Omoyele Sowore and other activists, the Nigerian Government is, again, deepening the disenchantment of the Nigerian people and stoking the flames of citizens’ uprising that may have a greater impact on the country’s foundations than the #EndSARS protest.”
The rights activists also warned that If the people were denied the freedom to exercise their fundamental human rights, Nigerian democracy would be considered “a sham and a shame” in the comity of nations.
The statement added, “The Federal government is increasingly making a mockery of what it means to live in a democratic country, and the president’s inability to rein in the rogue security operatives in the country reeks of his culpability.
“His continued silence as the commander-in-chief is another proof that all nails that are required to finally hammer the draconian regime to its well-deserved end, have now been affixed to its self-acquired coffin.
“The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is hereby admonished to immediately vanquish all false charges of Unlawful Assembly, Criminal Conspiracy and Inciting Public Disturbance levelled against Sowore and others immediately, and ensure that Omoyele Sowore and other activists are released unconditionally.”
Vanguard News Nigeria