The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership has decried the clampdown and attack on protesters calling for the release of pro-democracy campaigner and Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare widely known as Mandate, by operatives of the Department of State Services.
The protesters were attacked on Tuesday during a peaceful march at the headquarters of the DSS in Abuja.
In a statement by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran, the group not only condemned the continued detention of Sowore but also the repression of human rights by the government.
Adeniran said, “It is tantamount to adding salt to a wound, where such wrongfully incarcerated person was given the benefit of bail by a judge of competent court of jurisdiction which an agency of government (SSS, in this instance) is willfully and recklessly refusing to obey by any means possible.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the rights to protest, associate and assemble for either individual or collective interests is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined and recognised by the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended), once they are not effected under any violence or coercion.
“It is the height of disrespect and open defecation of our constitution for the commanding structure of the secret police to blatantly and willfully disobey court orders instructing that Sowore be immediately released after satisfying stringent bail conditions earlier imposed on him by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.”
Adeniran added that the DSS, as an agent of the executive, judiciary and other arms of government, must at all times be seen to operate within the ambit of the rule of law and separation of power.