SERAP petitions UN over arrest, detention of Sowore, others

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention over the arrest and continued detention of Omoyele Sowore, former presidential candidate, and four others.

Sowore, together with Juwon Sanyaolu, Peter Williams, Emmanuel Bulus and Damilare Adenola, was arrested following a protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, on the eve of New Year.

They were arraigned before Taye Maibel at the Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on Monday by the police after spending four nights in detention on three counts of unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance.

J. C. Idachaba, who led the prosecuting team, told the court that they were arrested for disturbing the peace of the nation.

The court, however, ordered them to be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the consideration of their bail applications on Tuesday (today). They were later brought to Magistrates’ Court, Wuse, in handcuffs on Tuesday morning

SERAP had, in a statement on Tuesday by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, who said the petition was sent to the UN body on Monday, January 4, noted that the arrest of Sowore and “four other activists constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of their liberty because it does not have any legal justification.”

It noted that the detention also did not meet minimum international standards of due process and therefore called for their immediate release.

“The arrest, continued detention and torture and ill-treatment of Mr Sowore and four other activists solely for peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are flagrant violations of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 (as amended) and international human rights law. They are now facing bogus charges simply for exercising their human rights.

“We urge the Working Group to request the Nigerian government to investigate and hold accountable all police officers and security agents suspected to be responsible for the unlawful arrest, continued detention, and torture and other ill-treatment of Mr Sowore and four other activists.”




    SERAP also urged the UN to compel the Nigerian government to award Sowore and four other activists compensation “for the violations they suffered as a result of their unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, torture, and other ill-treatment.”

    This is not the first time Sowore would be arrested for leading a protest.

    In 2019, he was illegally abducted and detained by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) for planning to stage the RevolutionNow protest which called for an end to bad governance in Nigeria.

    After much pressure from within and from some members of the international community, Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government released him from illegal detention.
    He is currently being arraigned in court on ridiculous charges bordering on money laundering, treasonable felony and cyberstalking Buhari.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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