By Chimezie Godfrey
A coalition of Civil Society Organizations has given the DSS and the federal government a 14- day ultimatum for the unconditional release of Omoyele Sowore, and to address other issues of human rights abuses in the country.
The Coalition issued the ultimatum on Monday in Abuja during a press conference tagged,”The Troubling State of Affairs in Nigeria.”
In a statement, The group decried the rising cases of disobedience to court orders especially by governments in power as witnessed in recent times.
The group which represents a cross section of Nigerian civil society actors who have played various roles in Nigeria’s journey to civil rule, raised concern about two key issues which include attack on the judiciary and attack on the freedom of speech and pattern of silencing dissent in the country.
They stressed that as Nigeria joins the rest of the world marking “the Human Rights Day”, they should use the occasion to review the crackdown on the freedom of the press, proposed bills to curb dissent and a general environment of shrinking civic space, among other things.
In view of the foregoing, the group issued a 14 day ultimatum for the government to address issues of human rights abuses in the country.
They said,”We demand the President Muhammadu Buhari to show accountability as President and Commander-in-Chief and address the nation on his commitment to the rule of law and human rights.
“The release of all illegally detained persons by the DSS as revealed by Amnesty, Premium Times & Punch Newspapers in recent months.
“That the government obey all outstanding court orders.
“An investigation of the officers who violated protocol and the circumstances leading to Omoyele Sowore’s 2nd arrest.
“The unconditional release of Omoyele Sowore per his bail terms.
“If these five demands are not honored within 14 days – we call on patriots to join us as we occupy the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) offices across the country, as it is legally mandated to protect rights and it reports to the Presidency.
“May we remind this government that disobedience calls to disobedience, and that disobedience of the orders of the constitutional repository of the moral authority of arbitration – the judiciary – can only lead eventually to a people’s disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society, a state of desperation that is known, recognized and accepted as civil disobedience.”
They pointed out that state disobedience leads eventually to civil disobedience, piecemeal or through a collective withdrawal of recognition of other structures of authority.
The statement was signed by representatives of various civil society organizations which include Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International (Nigeria) Idayat Hassan, Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), Auwal Musa, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and ‘Yemi Adamolekun, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria).
Others are Lanre Suraj, (HEDA) & People’s Alternative Front, Kola Ogundare, Socio-Economic Right And Accountability Project (SERAP), Jaye Gaskia, Take Back Nigeria (TBN), Biola Akiode-Afolabi, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)