Groups protest Sowore’s detention

Mr Sowore was arrested by the police on December 31.

More groups have condemned the detention of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and four others by police.

The activists were whisked away by police operatives at Gudu junction in Abuja during a protest tagged #CrossoverWithProtest on December 31, 2020.

The protest held in some states of the country.

Participants were seen on Twitter carrying candles and placards to show their grievances against the current government of the day.

Mr Sowore was reportedly brutalised before being forcefully dragged into one of the seven vehicles mobilised to the protest ground by police.

He has since been detained alongside others at Abattoir police station in Lokogoma, Abuja.

The police have not spoken on the arrest amidst reports he could be arraigned on Monday.

On Sunday, a rights group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in a statement, said it would renew its campaign to embarrass the federal government if Mr Sowore is not released.

The group’s chairperson, Olanrewaju Suraju, said HEDA “may be compelled to renew another global campaign that will embarrass the Nigerian government if he is not released or charged to a competent court of law.”

“Since 2019, the Nigerian government has been keeping Sowore in detention on trumped-up charges. His recent ordeal, leading to his arrest on New Year’s Eve is in furtherance of a plot to ensure his continuous incarceration by the Nigerian government,” Mr Suraju said.

Another organisation, Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), in a statement by its coordinator, Adaramoye Michael, said Mr Sowore’s arrest showed “heavy strong-arm tactics adopted by the Buhari regime to suppress freedom of assembly and dissent voices against the regime are a sign of a jittery regime which has lost its social base and can only keep itself in office through repression.”

The group demanded an immediate and unconditional release of arrested activists.

In the same vein, members of African Action Congress (AAC) and the Coalition of Revolution (CORE) have vowed to protest at the police headquarters in Abuja.

The aim of the rally is to express their dissatisfaction over the continued detention of their members by the police.

This was communicated to the press in a statement jointly signed by Abdul Ameen and Sydney Godwin, for the groups respectively.

“We’ve resolved that if by Monday, Sowore and other comrades aren’t released, we’ll occupy Abuja. The Nigerian populace have resolved to take back their country from mediocrity and place her in glory amongst the comity of nations and no level of intimidation can stop that. You can’t stop an idea whose time has come,” the activists said.

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