United States-based advocacy organisation, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, has said that activist and journalist, Omoyele Sowore, is being persecuted by the Nigerian Government for speaking truth to the leadership of the country.
In a recent documentary detailing how the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had infringed upon the right of the journalist for simply criticising its failures, the international rights group condemned the attempt by the Nigerian Government to silence critics and shrink the civic space.
According to Wade McMullen, Managing Attorney of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Nigerian Government has been critical of Sowore for a long time because of his work as a journalist and activist.
He said, “When he visited Nigeria last July, he was also organising peaceful protests for a more effective and corruption-free Nigeria but the government saw this as a threat.
“After his arrest, people did not know where he was for over 48 hours.
“Till this day, the government has yet to reveal a single shred of evidence that they have to supposedly justify the baseless charges against him.
“He was silenced because of his activism, because of his journalism.”
Video of Protecting Civic Space: The Case of Omoyele Sowore
Sowore was arrested in the early hours of August 3, 2019 by operatives of the Department of State Services for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations on August 5 to demand a better country from the administration of President Buhari.
He was kept in unlawful detention from that period until December 5, 2019 when he was finally released on bail despite two court orders earlier sanctioning his freedom.
In a twist of event, DSS operatives invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2019 to rearrest him without any court order.
He remained in unlawful detention until 18 days later when he was released by the secret police for the second time.
At the resumption of his trial in a case brought against him by the Nigerian Government, the prosecution failed to prove accusations against him and even went ahead to dropping seven of the charges earlier preferred against him.
The trial resumes on March 12, 2020 in this time government is accusing him of attempting to overthrow Buhari’s administration by calling on citizens to protest against the regime.
Groups and high-raking individuals from around the world have described the charges against Sowore as baseless and a waste of time.
The journalist remains confined to Abuja as one of his bail conditions forbids him from leaving the city or speaking with journalists until the end of his trial.