The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari led government and the Federal High Court of abuse of power.
The group made the statement on Thursday while reacting to the granting of an ex-parte order by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to the Department of State Services to further detain activist and convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, for 45 days.
Just as a coalition of Ijaw groups, the Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, have called for the immediate and unconditional release of Sowore.
The Sahara Reporters publisher was arrested by the DSS in the early hours of Saturday in Lagos for urging Nigerian to pour out onto the streets and express their displeasure against bad governance in the country.
Despite calls for his release, the government agency has continued to hold on to him, creating tension in the polity.
Condemning the latest development, HURIWA said keeping Sowore in detention for another 45 days was totally unacceptable and against what the law stipulates.
The group said, “Why arrest a citizen if you, as an agency of government, have yet to wrap up your investigations?
“The decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja, will surely undermine civil liberty and constitutional freedom.
“If the court is no longer the hope of the common man, then our democracy is in trouble as a society.”
The National Secretary of MOSIEND, Amb. Winston Amain expressed sadness over the high level of clampdown on the freedom of citizens to engage in peaceful protests and called for the unconditional release of Sowore.
Amain, in a statement issued via email, stated that the country cannot continue to wallow in poverty and insecurity and then pretend as if all is well, insisting that “we cannot continue to be dying and be clapping.”
He enjoined all ethnic groups to support Sowore’s call for protests, noting that Nigerians must rise against tyranny, corruption, oppression and nepotism for the country to develop.
MOSIEND further stated that the people of the Niger Delta cannot continue to live as a conquered people in their own land and called on the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to release Sowore immediately and unconditionally.
On its part, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide in a statement signed by the factional President, Barr. Eric Omare, demanded the immediate release of Sowore, who was arrested in a commando style by officers of the DSS in the early hours of Saturday.
According to the statement, “The IYC considers the arrest as an attempt to suppress dissenting voice in the nation. The right to express dissent is the hallmark of democracy. There is no democracy without the people having the right to express their dissatisfaction with the way they are governed.
“In the opinion of the IYC, Mr. Sowore’s planned protest against persistent killings all over the country and the state of governance falls within the right to protest in a democratic society and do not amount to treason in any form.
“We completely disagree with the statements issued by the Directorate of State Security and the Nigeria Police to the effect that the planned protest is treasonable.
“The fact that the planned protest is styled “Revolution” is of no moment. To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Sowore has not called for undemocratic overthrow of government.
All that the protest calls for, is for government to live up to its responsibility to protect lives and properties and improve the socio economic conditions of Nigerians, which is the primary responsibility of government as provided for in the 1999 Constitution which President Buhari has sworn to defend and uphold.”