Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2019 presidential election; former Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode have condemned Saturday’s arrest of Sahara Reporters publisher, Omowole Sowore by the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a post via his twitter handle, @atiku, the former vice president said freedom of speech was guaranteed by the constitution and nobody should be arrested for exercising such freedom.
“Freedom of speech is not only constitutionally guaranteed, it is the substructure of our democracy,” he said. “These kidnappings in the guise of arrests stands condemned.”
In his own reaction, Sani condemned what he described as “sponsored protests against Amnesty Nigeria” and Sowore’s arrest and called for his immediate release.
According to him, “Our democracy is a block of ice floating on warm waters.The sponsored protest and attacks on the @AmnestyNigeria stands condemned.The arrest and detention of @YeleSowore is needless.I join the call for his release #FreeSowore.”
Fani-Kayode, former Aviation Minister also in a reaction through his twitter handle, @realFFK, said the arrest of Sowore was the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February election “is uncharitable, unkind, unecessary, uncalled for, unsustainable, indefensible and regrettable.
“I condemn this fascistic and Gestapo-like action by the DSS against him and I call for his immediate and unconditional release. #FreeSoworeNow #RevolutionNow.”
Similarly, Amnesty International Nigeria also expressed concern over the arrest and called for his immediate release.
“Amnesty International is concerned about arrest of Omoyele Sowore by DSS operatives,” the rights group said via its handle, @AmnestyNigeria. “We urge the authorities to respect his rights and follow due process. If not charged for any offence, he should be released immediately.”
In his own reaction, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, through his handle, @MaziNnamdiKanu, condemned what he called, “Fulani tyranny and primitive dictatorship” which according to him, “will never win this war against the massed ranks of oppressed people in Nigeria.
‘Suppressing the right to protest in a so-called democracy will only hasten the collapse of that ZOO. #FreeSowore & allow the #RevolutionNow right to protest,” he wrote.
Sowore was arrested by 1:25 am on Saturday over the nationwide protests he is organising which he said was against rising insecurity and poor governance in the country.
His medium, Sahara Reporters which first broke the news of his said the “arrest and detention are not unconnected to #RevolutionNow, a series of planned protests against bad governance in Nigeria scheduled for August 5, 2019.”
Many Nigerians are taking to social media to express anger over the arrest.