The echo of the Omoyele Sowore affair, named after the journalist and political activist arrested by the intelligence service despite bail granted by the courts, is now echoing beyond Nigerian borders. On the frontline, Amnesty International is very shocked.
For the NGO for the defense and promotion of human rights, it is about respect for the laws. « This raises serious concerns for us as an organization and as a country. The authority can not choose the laws to respect and those not to respect, « said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, on Monday.
It all began last Friday, when the Abuja Federal Court ruled on the case of Omoyele Sowore, the pro-democracy journalist and activist prosecuted for several counts including treason, money laundering and harassment against the president of the Republic.
For example, agents from the State Security Department (DSS) of Nigeria’s intelligence service burst into the room. They evacuated the jury and arrested Omoyele Sowore. While the latter by appearing before the bar of the court, was already a beneficiary of a bail granted since March.
« We are again shocked by the arrest of Sowore despite the fact that he was released by a court decision in good and due form, » Osai Ojigho continues. Not without mentioning the case of another defendant arrested despite bail.
No reaction from Abuja yet
Long before Amnesty International, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition group, severely criticized the DSS act.
« Far from us any hint of jeopardizing a procedure of justice, we within the PDP, consider in all citizenship that the justice is the only institution to pronounce the appropriate sentence with this business. The use of force does not solve the problem, « said Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman for the main opposition party.
The Nigerian authorities have not yet reacted to these different criticisms. However, this situation already bodes well for a heated debate on the separation of powers in Nigeria. Reporter at the Sahara reporters website, Sowore is an opponent of the Muhammadu Buhari regime. He does not hesitate to leave investigations highlighting the failures of the state and the army on his news site.
With 36.50 points, the most populous country in Africa is ranked 120th (out of 180) in the 2019 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) press freedom ranking.