Malachy Ugwummadu, the Chairman of the Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), says Omoyele Sowore does not need the permission of the Nigeria Police Force or the Nigerian Government to call for a protest.
He said this in an interview with SaharaReporters on Saturday.
“Omoyele Sowore, like any other person involved in this protest, does not need the permission of the government, let alone the commissioner of police or any law enforcement agency including the DSS,” he said
He mentioned cases in the court of appeal which serve as a precedence for peaceful protest to be held without permission from the state.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration had clamped down on several protests, was a beneficiary of the court of appeal's order that negated the crackdown on protests by the police.
“Interestingly, that case was taken out by Mr Femi Falana on behalf of the same President Buhari and Chuka Okadigbo who were dispersed with their large crowd during a rally by the state agency," he said.
He said any Nigerian has the constitutional right to free assembly and move within Nigeria.
Ugwummadu said by arresting Sowore, the government had only given credence to the demands of angry Nigerians who are determined to hold the government accountable through protest.
He added: “Nobody plans a bloody revolution and come to be advertising it and give the date of the protest. Revolution in the sense that we cannot begin to accept the status quo as it is. We must find a way of alerting the political calculation in the country, in a manner that retrieves power and hand over power to the people such that their rights to dignity as guaranteed by the constitution are restored.”
He called on President Buhari to order the release of Sowore immediately.