The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom has condemn the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Services to arrest Omoyele Sowore.
The coalition, a national alliance of media and civil society organisations, described the act of the DSS as a reckless display of brutality and lawlessness.
The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take action against the agency to further drive home the claim that the secret agency did not carry out the act on the instruction of the Presidency.
The coalition also described the action of the armed DSS operatives, who invaded the courtroom where proceeding was ongoing in an effort to rearrest Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, as the most frightening assault on the authority and independence of the judiciary that Nigeria has ever witnessed.
In a statement, the group said, “The coalition calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to take stern punitive action against the DSS agents involved in the attack on the court as well as the agency’s leadership in order to reassure Nigerians and the international community that they were not acting under his instructions and that his government does not condone their actions in desecrating the temple of justice, undermining the rule of law and their wanton disregard for the rights of citizens.
“Failure by President Buhari and his government to take immediate and decisive action in response to such apparent brigandage by a security agency, would remain a permanent blemish on the administration’s human rights record and would ultimately result in the government being ostracised by the international community while also undermining its legitimacy at home.”
The coalition called on the United Nations, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States to urgently take steps to launch investigations into the deplorable human rights situation in Nigeria as the country was facing a rapid descent into totalitarianism and tyranny.
The coalition consists of African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Civic Media Lab, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Daily Trust Newspaper, International Centre for Investigative Reporting, International Press Centre, HEDA Resource Centre.
Others are Media Rights Agenda, Nigeria Union of Journalist, Order Paper, Paradigm Initiative, Premium Times, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, SaharaReporters, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, TheCable and Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.