The Federal Government has again been faulted for obtaining a court ruling that granted a 45-day renewable detention of Sahara Reporters publisher, Mr Omoyele Sowore.
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) said the continuous detention of Sowore favours the aspirations of the most corrupt Nigerian elite who had sought legal and illegitimate means to cage the activist.
The foremost anti-corruption group said the continuous detention of Mr Sowore represents one of the worst forms of attack on free speech and citizenship campaign against corruption in Nigeria.
‘More than many media organisations, Sahara Reporters have exposed corruption in both private and public sector. The group had made landmark revelations including the electoral fraud in Ekiti (2014), the fraud involving the former Senate President, Dr Olusola Saraki, the Haliburton scandal and many others that would have been swept under the carpet,’ CSNAC said in a Monday statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju. It said keeping Mr Sowore in detention for 45 days in an attempt to kill a fly with a sledge hammer.
The group also condemned the armed security invasion of the Monday Oregun Lagos venue of a symposium being orgainised by Coalition for Revolution, (CORE) in which Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and many activists were billed to speak. The theme of the event was Democracy, State Repression and the State of Insecurity in Nigeria.
The group said by seeking a 45-day detention for Sowore, the FG had demonstrated a penchant for deliberate persecution. CSNAC said equating the scheduled protest of RevolutionNow with treason undermines the entire fabric of the country’s democratic history.
Suraju, the rights group said many corrupt Nigerians whose heinous crimes have been exposed are excited to see the continuous detention of Mr Sowore, who also publishes Africa’s foremost online media, Sahara Reporters.
“The detention of Mr Sowore is not only an attack on free speech, it also represents a low water level mark in the fight against corruption by the civil society. For more than one decade, Sahara Reporters has exposed the worst form of corruption committed by high-profile politicians and public officers. His detention is seen by these people as a victory for plot to pull down Sahara Reporters and its citizen’s journalism” Mr Olanrewaju Suraju stated.
CSNAC condemned the continuous detention of many members of the African Action Congress, (AAC) and RevolutionNow movement saying that many are being held without any legal basis.
CSNAC lamented the continuous detention of many Nigerians by security institutions including the Navy which has been accused of holding about 67 civilians without handing them over to the police authorities.
The Navy, it said had continued to ignore court orders for the unconditional release of 15 out of the 67 detainees including Navy Captain Dada Labinjo detained at an underground cell of the Defence Intelligence Agency in Abuja. It said the Navy runs against Section 6 (2) (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2915 which makes it compulsory for the Navy to inform relatives of any one it detains