Robert Menendez, a United States senator and Josh Gottheimer, a member of congress, have petitioned the Nigerian Head of Mission to America, Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor, over the continued detention of pro-democracy campaigner and Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore.
The US lawmakers expressed concern over the continued detention of Sowore despite fulfilling bail conditions twice after court orders.
The petition reads in part, “We write to express our strong concern over closing media and civic space in Nigeria.
“There have been a lot of troubling reports about Nigerian security services assaulting and detaining journalists using excessive force on non-violent protesters and taking other actions that inhibit freedom of expression, and otherwise prevent Nigerians from fully exercising their fundamental constitutional rights.”
The lawmakers called on Buhari to do the right thing because the international community was watching and will not be quiet until Sowore and other prisoners of conscience were released.
Sowore, famed globally for exposing Nigeria's corrupt politicians, was arrested in Lagos on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand a better country from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government is accusing him of insulting Buhari and planning to bring down his regime – charges observers around the world have described as baseless.
Despite two separate orders by the Federal High Court in Abuja directing his release after meeting stringent bail conditions, the DSS has refused to release Sowore, casting a huge shadow over the human rights record of Buhari’s regime.