The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Justin Welby, has responded to an open letter by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), calling on him to use his good offices and friendship with President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on him to obey the judgment of the court ordering the release of activists Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare.
In a statement made available to journalists on Tuesday by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the body said it is delighted that its letter and the concerns raised have caught the attention of the archbishop.
Daily Times recalls that despite the court orders for their release, the duo have remained in arbitrary detention.
SERAP had in the letter to Archbishop Welby, expressed “serious concerns about the disturbing trend by state and federal governments to use the court as a tool to suppress citizens’ human rights.”
Responding on behalf of the archbishop through an e-mail last night, the Chief Correspondence Officer at the Lambeth Palace, Dominic Goodall said: “Thank you for your recent letter. Much as he would like to, the archbishop is unable to respond personally in detail, so I have been asked to reply to you on his behalf.
“Thank you for taking the time to share your comments and concerns on this matter, which have been noted. Please be assured that I will communicate your concerns to the archbishop and his staff team, so that they are aware of your concerns. Thank you again for taking the time to write.”
Meanwhile, SERAP has expressed optimism that the Buhari administration would release Sowore would be released soon, adding that “given his public record for justice and human rights, we have absolutely no doubt that he (archbishop) will prevail on President Buhari to obey not just the court order for the release of Sowore and Bakare, but all court orders.”
SERAP had in the letter dated November 11, said asked the archbishop to use his position and influence to persuade Buhari to promote the rule of law in words and in action by obeying all court orders including the order for the release of Sowore and Bakare from arbitrary detention.”
Also, SERAP said that “as the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, we believe you can reaffirm your belief in justice, rule of law and the basic human rights of all people by speaking out with a strong voice against the repeated disobedience of court orders and the implicitly lack of respect by the government for the integrity and authority of the Nigerian judiciary.”