Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A civil right group, “Concerned Activists” has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over the arrest and detention of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, publisher of the online medium, Sahara Reporters, who is also the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February 2019 general election, by the Department of State Security (DSS).
Sowore is currently in the custody of the service over his call for the staging of the #RevolutionNow in what he described as a protest against bad governance in the country.
In a joint petition signed Ariyo-Dare Atoye and Deji Adeyanju, the group called on the commission to rise up to its statutory responsibilities of defending the rights of Nigeria citizens.
The petition which was submitted at the registry of the NHRC reads:
“We write to express our displeasure with your continued silence over the undemocratic incidences that are happening in the country. We are even more displeased by your silence in the face of the alarming human rights abuses considering the consistency of such anomaly under the present regime.
“Recent developments in the country especially the ever-growing proclivity of the General Buhari-led regime for human rights abuses are indicative of a complete departure from all democratic tenets, norms and practices.
“Among many others, an urgent case in point is the recent Department of State Services, (DSS) arrest of Omoyele Sowore, one of the conveners of the pro-people RevolutionNow movement which is demanding a safer and better Nigeria where good governance is seen and felt by all Nigerians.
“The arrest of Sowore comes after a statement by the IGP of police delimiting all actions of protest by citizens in Abuja to the Unity Fountain only, and additionally restricting the rights of citizens to demonstrate their remonstrance by criminalising the RevolutionNow protest.
“We believe that these events are not only undemocratic but they are also disgraceful for a country like Nigeria that practises constitutional democracy.
“However, we are completely dissatisfied by the eerie silence of the National Human Rights Commission in the face of these undemocratic developments. Our dissatisfaction is further aggravated by the fact that the role of the NHRC in defending the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of Nigerians is well-revered and dearly treasured by Nigerians.
“It is, therefore, our hope that the NHRC would wake up from its slumber and rise to its responsibility of defending Nigeria’s civic spaces and the constitutionally- guaranteed rights of the citizens.”