The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), a national alliance of media and civil society organisations, has condemned the re-arrest of convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore at the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja, less than 24 hours after he was released from 124-day detention.
In a statement by the coalition, it described the actions by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) who invaded the courtroom where proceedings were going, as a reckless display of brutality and lawlessness and the most frightening assault on the authority and independence of the Judiciary that Nigeria has ever witnessed.
The Coalition called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take stern punitive action against the DSS agents involved in the attack on the court as well as the agency’s leadership in order to reassure Nigerians and the international community that they were not acting under his instructions and that his government does not condone their actions in desecrating the temple of justice, undermining the rule of law and their wanton disregard for the rights of citizens.
The statement noted that, “failure by President Buhari and his Government to take immediate and decisive action in response to such apparent brigandage by a security agency, would remain a permanent blemish on the Administration’s human rights record and would ultimately result in the Government being ostracized by the international community while also undermining its legitimacy at home.
“Prior to the release of Sowore and Bakare on Thursday, December 5, 2019, the DSS had consistently undermined the authority of the courts by refusing to release the human rights activists for months despite several orders for their release on bail issued by different judges of the Federal High Court during the period, adding that this was an unacceptable violation of the principles of the rule of law in a constitutional democracy.”
It stressed that the brazen acts of disrespect to the court and disobedience of its orders, should not go unpunished.
The Coalition called on the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to urgent take steps to launch investigations into the deplorable human rights situation in Nigeria as the country is facing a rapid descent into totalitarianism and tyranny.
It said any delay by the international community in taking firm action to address the Nigerian situation could result in a violent conflict in Africa’s most populous nation, which would constitute a grave threat to international peace and security, particularly in the region.