Rights group calls on FG to drop charges against Sowore

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

The Federal Government has been asked to drop all charges against a renown civil liberty advocate, Mr Omoyele Sowore who has been facing treason charges since 2019.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community, NIRCO, a coalition of 132 civil rights and community based groups asked the FG to drop the charges which all appear to be driven by politics of persecution.

In a statement made available to Irohinodua signed by two of its officials, Mr Fred Ojinika and Lateef Kole Ajayi the group said there was no need for the continual trial of the radical journalist.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community said in a statement on Thursday: “The trial of Sowore which has lasted for more than four years is political and a deliberate attempt to isolate and persecute him.”

The Nigerian Human Rights Community described Sowore as the most victimized and velified Nigerian journalist in the past one decade.

 “We call for an immediate halt to the trial of Mr. Omoyele Sowore who was accused of treason in a case that the government has failed to bring forth any iota of evidence. 

It is ridiculous that Sowore alleged conspirator was a secondary school boy who was barely learning about the meaning of treason when he was arrested.”

The group said the Federal Government should halt the trial and stop embarrassing the country.

It said since the trial of Sowore began “we have received enquiries from all over the world including diplomats wondering why the Nigerian Government was using an armoured tank to kill a fly. Each time the government takes him to court brings back memories of the tyrannical years of military rule.”

The group said “The former President Muhammadu Buhari and the cabal in his cabinet acted as if they had personal grudges with Sowore. It is not about law, neither is it about any offense committed, but a clear case of witch-hunting and reckless abuse of power. We call on the current Government not to sustain the obnoxious principle that portrays the Nigerian state on a vengeance mission against an individual.”

The coalition asked the Attorney General of the Federation Lateef Fagbemi, (SAN) to withdraw all charges against Sowore with immediate effect.

“He has been denied access to his family, his wife and children for the past more than four years. His immediate junior brother was shot dead in curious circumstances, armed agents trail him from dawn to dusk abridging his freedom and curtailing his liberty in the most vicious manner.”

The coalition said Sowore has suffered persecution more than any other Nigerian journalist in the last ten years adding that it is easy to conclude that some people just want him dead.

“There is no justification for denial of liberty to a man whose platform has provided the widest window for freedom of expression to millions of Nigerians. Sahara Reporters remains the first online platform that opened opportunities for rich and poor, armed and defenseless, politicians and non-politicians, state and non state actors to express their fears and aspirations about their past, present and future. The worst any Government can do to destroy democracy is to endlessly assault the pillars of free speech which Sowore and Sahara Reporters stand for “

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