The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has sent an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Portal Welby, urging him to use his good office and leadership to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to obey court orders involving activists Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, who have remained in the detention of the Department of State Services.
SERAP expressed “serious concerns about the disturbing trend by state governments and federal government to use the court as a tool to suppress citizens’ human rights”.
In the letter dated November 11, 2019 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “We believe you can use your leadership position and influence to persuade President Buhari to promote the rule of law in words and action by obeying all court orders including the order to release Sowore and Bakare from arbitrary detention.
“As the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, we believe you can reaffirm your belief in justice, rule of law and the basic human rights of all people by speaking out with a strong voice against the repeated disobedience of court orders and the implicitly lack of respect by the government for the integrity and authority of the Nigerian judiciary.
“Taking a stance on the issues of the rule of law and respect for court orders in Nigeria will also contribute to ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law by the 36 state governments in Nigeria, as these governments seem to be taking a cue from the federal authorities regarding disobedience of court orders.
“Sowore and Bakare are facing trial on seven counts simply for exercising their human rights.
“We therefore respectfully call on you to speak out on the repeated disobedience of court orders by the government of President Buhari and urge him to obey all court orders including the orders for the release of Sowore and Bakare from arbitrary detention.”