Human rights activist and Amnesty International designated Prisoner of Conscience, Omoyele Sowore, has accused some media houses of failing to report human rights violations and abuses under the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
Sowore in a tweet on Tuesday wondered why the five #BuhariMustGo protesters who were arrested at Dunamis International Gospel Centre Church in Abuja were not released by the Department of State Services (DSS) despite fulfilling their bail conditions.
He accused some media offices of being silent during the victimisation of their colleagues.
“Five young persons arrested by Dr. Paul Enenche’s Dunamis church security and handed over to Yusuf Bichi-led lawless DSS remains in custody after fulfilling their bail conditions, let me say it here that the Nigerian mainstream media are complacent and complicit in the quest for state violations of human rights by the tyrannical Buhari regime, not because of the people I know who are victims but because they will never raise a finger even when their colleagues are abused.
“These days you can count on your fingers how many media outlets would ever report on human rights abuses! #Revolutionnow #Buharimustgo.”
Recall the DSS had arrested Ben Manasseh, Anene Udoka, Henry Nwodo, Samuel Larry and Samuel Gabriel on July 4 at Dunamis International Gospel Centre Church premises in Abuja for allegedly wearing #BuhariMustGo branded shirts.
The activists subsequently sued the secret police, President Muhammadu Buhari, Paul Enenche, the church’s pastor-in-charge, and others for unlawful arrest and detention.
They also asked the court to award N10million each in damages for the violation of their fundamental human rights.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/631/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/636/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/638/2021, and FHC/ABJ/CS/639/2021 respectively, Tope Temokun, their lawyer argued that the arrest of his clients is a violation of sections 35, 38, 39 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and under articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Ratification and Enforcement.
Temokun said his clients are entitled to the fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, right to freedom of expression and the press, right to freedom from discrimination and right to personal liberty.
The judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere in his ruling, ordered that the DSS should release the applicants with immediate effect.
But instead of complying with the order, the agency hurriedly arraigned them on charges of disturbance of public peace against to earn a face-saving justification for keeping them in custody.
Brought before the magistrate for arraignment last Wednesday, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their lawyer subsequently applied for their bail.
Ruling, the magistrate, Mohammed Zubairu, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N500,000 with a surety each.
Owing to the non-compliance of the order, Temokun, the activists’ lawyer went to court seeking the execution of the order.
He also asked the court to jail Yusuf Bichi, Director-General of the DSS if the protesters are not released.
In a notice, he informed the court that the failure of Bichi to release the five protesters will amount to a contempt.
The notice entitled, ‘Notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court’ read: “To the Director General of the State Security Seevices, 1 Maitaima Avenue, Three Arms Zone, Abuja.
“Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this endorsed ORDER (hereby endorsed), you shall be guilty of contempt of Court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”