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Free Sowore: SERAP urges Nigerians to speak out against human rights violations, abuses

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THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has condemned human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria, following the violence against protesters demanding Omoyele Sowore’s release on Monday.

SERAP in a series of tweets called on the African Union, The United Nations Human Rights Commission and all countries with influence on Nigeria to “stand up for Nigerians and speak out against the ongoing “human rights violations and abuses” in the country.

“We must come together now to shine a light on…flagrant disregard for the rule of law by the President Buhari government and several state governors,” it tweeted.

SERAP urged Nigerians to hold their leaders to account and speak truth to power. 

“We cannot afford to stay silent. Nigerians have a right to participate in decisions that have an impact on their lives,” it said.

Deji Adeyanju, a human rights activist, has led a group of Nigerians to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja to demand the release of Sowore. 

Meanwhile, there was another protest that held simultaneously at the NHRC premises that reportedly countered the release of Sowore.

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A video of the protest made available on Twitter showed that the group was chanting “Sai Baba”, a reverent slogan for President Muhammadu Buhari.

The placards they held also revealed their support for the current administration, particularly for detaining Sowore whose arrest was described by many as an instance of human rights violation.

A placard read: “when national security is threatened, human rights takes (sic) second place.” Another called on NHRC to stay off of “issues with dire national security implication.”

But it was reported that the group had not only countered a protest but had attacked Deji who stood for Sowore’s release.

Kayode Ogundamisi, an influential Nigerian Twitter user and a supporter of Buhari administration based in the United Kingdom, also condemned the attack of Deji describing it “unacceptable”.

He said the police should have arrested the protesters that engaged in violence.

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“If you must protest, or counter a protest, (sponsored or not) do so without breaking the law,” it stated.

Today marks 142 days Sowore has spent in detention of the State Security Service, SSS since the arrest on August 3 for convening a #RevolutionNow campaign. The Federal High Court had ordered his release after fulfilling the bail conditions. But less than 24 hours Sowore was freed, the DSS officials rearrested him in the court premises.

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