A 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner, Ned Phelps, and renowned journalism professor at the Dart Center, Columbia Journalism School, United States, Bruce Shapiro, are among notable individuals from around the world that have condemned the continued detention of pro-democracy campaigner and Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, by the Nigerian Government.
Despite a Federal High Court, Abuja, ruling on Tuesday that Sowore should be immediately released on bail, the Department of State Services, which arrested him on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to express their anger at the poor state of governance in the country through peaceful protests, has refused to release him.
In a letter also signed by English PEN’s President, Philippe Sands, the respected journalists and scholars are demanding Sowore’s immediate freedom and all charges against him dropped by the Nigerian Government.
In the letter seen by SaharaReporters, the group said, “We, the undersigned, write to express our deep concern regarding the arrest of journalist and activist, Mr Omoyele Sowore, in Nigeria on August 3, 2019.
“Sowore was detained without bail by the Nigerian State Security Service in Lagos. There are seven charges against him including treason and money laundering. A High Court judge has ruled that Sowore should be released pending his trial but must surrender his passport.
“Sowore is a world-renowned journalist. He has pioneered new and important avenues in the field of investigative journalism.
“He is a graduate of the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. In addition, he is the founder of the well-known online investigative news outlet, Sahara Reportersthat focuses on corruption and political misconduct.
“Many colleagues in the world of journalism and academia hold Sowore in great esteem for his life-long effort in speaking truth to power.
“Please consider dropping the charges against Sowore and please release him as soon as possible.”