Lanre Banjo, a former governorship candidate in Ogun State, has written to President Donald Trump of the United States, calling for his intervention in the unlawful detention of Omoyele Sowore by the Nigerian Government.
Banjo noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is disrespecting the order of the same court he ran to when he lost his election thrice in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
He urged President Trump to not only impose a visa ban on all those working in the Ministry of Justice and their children but also deprive children of Nigeria’s rulers education in the US.
In the letter also sent to Senator Benjamin Cardin (Maryland), Senator Chris Van Hollen (Maryland) and Senator Robert Menendez, Banjo stated that President Buhari himself after losing elections in the country embarked on street protests and also made controversial comments against the then ruling party but he was not arrested.
He noted that while the government had claimed it arrested Sowore for the use of the word ‘revolution’, Buhari’s government is only trying to silence critics and shrink the civic space in Nigeria.
He said, “Although the Buhari administration and security chiefs claimed Sowore was only arrested because he used the word “revolution” in his agitation, there had been previous cases when Nigerians who did not make allusions to revolution were prevented from holding protests by security forces.
“In February 2017, the police frustrated a protest planned by Nigerians and led by a musician, saying they had received intelligence reports that it would turn violent.
"In April 2018, the police illegally imposed a permanent ban on gathering at the Unity Fountain, a major square in Abuja where BringBackOurGirls and other civil movements held demonstrations for years.
“The police castigated former minister, Oby Ezekwesili, and other Nigerians taking part in regular sit-ins at the location as constituting a ‘nuisance’ with their agitation,” the letter reads partly.
Condemning the invasion of the court by Department of State Services operatives to arrest Sowore, who had been granted bail by the court, the former governorship candidate described it as the “height of absurdity and presentation of Nigeria as a zoo”.
He said, “What lessons are we indoctrinating in our citizens when security officers wear masks to intimidate judges and citizens they are supposed to protect?
“While we address judges in the United States as “Your Honor”, still swimming in the claws of colonial mentality, we address judges as “My Lord”, in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, Buhari’s security forces caused the lord of the courtroom to run for her dear life.
“This is very depressing to many patriotic Nigerians whose dignities are being dwarfed.”
The former governorship urged President Trump to immediately withdraw the rights Nigerian political office holders enjoyed in the United States and also place a visa ban on them.