For what they term persistent refusal to court orders coming with issues of fundamental human right, a coalition of civil society groups yesterday gave president mohammadu Buhari and a body under its executive control, the Department of state services (Dss) a 14-day ultimatum to release Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Sahara reporters, former national security adviser to former President Jonathan, col. Sambo Dasuki.
They also asked for the release of former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and other persons detained by the security agency.
The activists, at a press conference in Abuja expressed concern over attacks on free speech allegedly being perpetrated by the Buhari administration.
The lead speaker, Yemi Adamolekun of Enough is Enough Nigeria, asked Buhari to address the nation on his commitment to the rule of law and human rights before the ultimatum expires.
Adamolekun in her speech, ‘Nigeria’s Troubling State of Affairs’, warned that if the demands were not met, the activists would occupy offices of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) across the country.
Rights groups at the event included: Amnesty International (Nigeria); Centre for Democracy and Development; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre; Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project; Take Back Nigeria; Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre; and Transition Monitoring Group.
Also, the Centre for Truth and Liberty (CTL) said the refusal by the DSS to release leaders of the #RevolutionNow movement, Sowore and Olawale Bakare, despite valid bail granted by a competent court of jurisdiction violates the sanctity of the rule of law and the principle of separation of powers.
According to CTL Executive Director Olusesan Semaye, “The unhealthy development, no doubt, casts Nigeria in bad light. More disturbing however is that it portends grave danger ahead, as the democratic space will further be shrunken under a hostile system that negates the rule of law.”
The CTL admonition came as human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, alleged that the Federal Government wanted his client, Sowore, to sign a “death warrant.”
While featuring as a guest on TVC’s programme, ‘Your View’, he said: “They wanted me to persuade Sowore to sign his death warrant and I refused. The government isn’t ready for trial; that is why they elongate his detention.”
He added: “In 2003, 2007, 2011, President Muhammadu Buhari lost elections to the Peoples Democratic Party and he led protests for a revolution. The law that put the State Security Service together states that you’re supposed to act for the Nigerian people, not (for) those in power.”