A coalition of civil society organizations has petitioned the United States to protest the re-arrest of the convener of the #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, by operatives of the Department of State Services at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The groups, during a protest to the US embassy in Abuja, submitted a petition to the American government urging it to place a visa ban on the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi; the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and their families.
The representatives of the groups included the Coordinator, Free Nigeria Movement, Raphael Adebayo; the Secretary, United Action for Democracy, Kunle Ajayi; Juwon Sanyaolu of Take It Back Movement; and Coordinator, Coalition In Defence of Nigeria and Constitution, Dare Ariyo-Atoye.
Adebayo, who spoke on behalf of the groups said, “The latest arrest of Sowore, which happened within the precinct of court, and which was led by gun-wielding officers of the DSS who stormed the court with an apparent resolve to stop at nothing to effect the re-arrest of Sowore, typifies the disturbing fact that the rule of law and human rights have become victims of executive despotism in Nigeria.”
The groups highlighted the “strong” condemnation of Sowore’s detention and the violation of his basic and constitutionally guaranteed rights by the US Department of State on Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
They, however, expressed the belief that the US could do more, citing its strategic role in ensuring that democracy was not undermined in Nigeria by anti-democratic and fascistic elements within the country.
They added, “We, therefore, request in the best interest of Nigeria’s Democracy, that a visa-ban be imposed on the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, and his immediate family, for undermining Nigeria’s democracy.
“We also request that a visa-ban be imposed on the Attorney General of the Federation in Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, and his immediate family, considering his eerily suspicious silence in the face of the desecration of rule of law and violation of human rights by the DSS in Nigeria.
“Equally, we urge the US to impose as many other sanctions as deemed necessary on Nigeria, to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and human rights in Nigeria.”
While describing the role of the US in sustaining democratic ideals and values in Nigeria as inestimably immense, the activists expressed the hope that it would continue to defend the fundamental freedoms and rights of Nigerians.