EDITORIAL: Sowore: Renewed human rights abuses under Buhari’s regime unacceptable

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Will it be safe to say that Nigeria is under siege from the very government that canvassed for the vote of Nigerians, promised to be guided by the constitution of the federal republic, promote the interest of Nigerians and Nigeria both within and outside the country, and ensure that individual human rights remain sacred and undefiled? It is unfortunate that the government of I Muhammadu Buhari has not only desecrated section 17 of the constitution, it has indeed shredded it out of the hinges of the sacred book of law of this country.

How else would Nigerians comprehend the desperate action of the State Security Services (SSS), parading as Department of States Services (DSS), which on 6th December 2019, besieged the Federal High Court premises in Maitama, where its operatives, in a Commando-styled operation re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, who less than 24 hours was grudgingly released from detention by the secret police.

Nigeria has never had it so worse since the return of the democratic dispensation. All over the country voices of vocal minorities expressing their opinion on the various actions of the government are suppressed by the government that swore to uphold the tenets of the constitution. Should this unfortunate and shameful act of the government persist; Nigeria is bereaved and should not only be consoled by the international community, but rescued like a helpless wife from the hands of a violent and molesting husband.

Prior to the 6th December fiasco, opinions have been divided on the repressive nature of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who since his first assumption of office in 2015 has arrested the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki over massive corruption and misappropriation of public funds. The Federal Government through the DSS refused to grant the retired Colonel and a prince of the Sokoto Caliphate bail in spite various court’s ruling favouring his bail application.

The case of the leader of the now outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Zakzaky, also placed opinions on various divides, yet the government refused to release the religious leader in spite of his deteriorating health condition.

One would have thought the circumstances surrounding these two individuals’ continued detention could be logically justified as the president had said at the 58th annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in 2018 that “the Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.” However, how do Nigerians and international community explain the detention of journalists who go about their professional duties?

The case of Jones Abiri who was locked away in prisons for years without trial, only to be released by a court in Abuja and yet again rearrested in dramatic manner by the DSS in Bayelsa state is nothing but a nightmare to his colleagues and a threat to journalism. Also in Cross Rivers state, Agba Jalingo has been in detention for dispensing his professional duties. Many opposition voices both in the conventional and social media have been rounded up and locked away in various locations across the country. Till this very moment Abubakar Idris, a social media influencer remains a missing person as his whereabouts is yet to be ascertained since August 2019.

It has not only become clear to Nigerians that “a repentant Democrat” is nothing but a ruse, a sugar coated word spoken to take advantage of a people with unified resolve to invest their vote in a brighter future. The recent action of the Buhari- led regime has not only shows that he swindled Nigerians but that he is iron-fisted and ruthless in leading the country, an action not bargained for by Nigerians.

We would only hope that the government would rescind its step and retrace it back to the part of constitutional preference and respect for the judiciary. Like they say, the rare horse follows the steps of the leading horse, since the government at the central has little regard for the rights of Nigerians, states government may begin to tread carelessly on the rights of their people. Was it not in Akwa Ibom where a young female journalist, Mary Ekere, was arrested for carrying out her duties? In the same Akwa Ibom, a local government chairman had his thugs beat up a contractor whose only offence was to request for payment of work done.

The government at all level should beware that a unified resolve of a frustrated people is a raging flood that clears everything along its part and leaves only wanton destruction in its wake. Should the government push the patience of Nigerians to the wall they would be left with no choice but for people to embark on violent revolution that the government claimed Sowore agitates for? How many Nigerians would the government clamp on by then? It is not too late for this Buhari’s administration/regime to correct the mistakes already committed.

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