A former Canada Member of Parliament and Toronto City Councillor, Honourable Jim Karygiannis, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that the arrest and detention of human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, casts a negative light on Nigeria and its justice system.
The Councillor noted that the continued detention of Sowore and his inability to have the opportunity to bail should be resolved by the President within the confines of the law.
In a copy of the letter to Buhari dated January 7, 2021, and obtained by SaharaReporters, the former MOP said, “It has recently been brought to my attention that Mr. Omoyele Sowore was arrested on December 31, 2020 during a peaceful protest. Mr. Sowore’s court appearance has been postponed once and Mr. Sowore is being held without bail.
“I met with Mr. Sowore in the summer of 2019 when he was visiting Canada. We discussed issues facing both Canada and Nigeria. I was impressed with his understanding of democracy and the demands it makes on politicians to ensure that it lives up to the promise of a society where individual citizens can freely and openly express their thoughts.
“I am concerned that the detention of Mr. Sowore and his inability to have the opportunity to post bail shines a negative light on Nigeria and her justice system in the eyes of the world. I am sure that you understand the situation and urge you, within the confines of the law, to have this matter resolved in a just manner in the near future.
“I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, please stay well.”
Several civil society organisations have called for the release of Sowore and his four coleagues who were arrested during a candlelight procession to usher in the New Year in Abuja on the night of December 31, 2020.
Instead of the government to heed the calls by Nigerians, it proceeded to arraign the activists on police’s trumped-up charges and has continued to frustrate their bail application.