United States economist and professor at Columbia University, New York, Joseph Stiglitz, has named rights campaigner and journalist, Omoyele Sowore, among journalists he admires and respects most around the world.
A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the John Bates Clark Medal, Stiglitz acknowledged Sowore, Publisher of SaharaReporters, for his tenacity and determination to see a just society, on Thursday during an interview with The New York Times.
The American also named Editor-in-Chief of PREMIUM TIMES, Musikilu Mojeed, another Nigerian, among journalists whose courage and works he admires the most.
Stiglitz said, “We support the Committee to Protect Journalists and I admire brave reporters all over the world including María Teresa Ronderos (Colombia), Giannina Segnini (Costa Rica and now a colleague at Columbia), Ferial Haffajee in South Africa, Musikilu Mojeed (Nigeria) and the tenacious human rights reporters at Rappler (Philippines).
“A Columbia alum and citizen journalist, Omoyele Sowore, ran for president in Nigeria and was arrested after a controversial tweet.
“Now more than ever, we need good journalism and we are getting it thanks to the philanthropists funding groups like the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ProPublica, The Marshall Project, Daily Maverick and others.”
Stiglitz went on to name Chimamanda Adichie and late Chinua Achebe – two of Nigeria’s greatest authors revered all around the world – among several writers he admires.
Through his pioneering online news medium – SaharaReporters – Sowore has been able to expose corruption, injustice and impunity of all kinds in Nigeria and beyond, often drawing the ire of politicians and strong forces in power.
For instance, on August 3, 2019, he was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations on August 5 to demand a better country from the administration of President Buhari.
He was kept in unlawful detention from that period until December 5, 2019 when he was finally released on bail despite two court orders earlier sanctioning his freedom.
In a twist of event, DSS operatives invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2019 to rearrest him without any court order.
He remained in unlawful detention until 18 days later when he was released by the secret police for the second time.
At the resumption of his trial in a case brought against him by the Nigerian Government, the prosecution failed to prove accusations against him and even went ahead to dropping seven of the charges earlier preferred against him.
The government is accusing him of attempting to overthrow Buhari’s administration by calling on citizens to protest against the regime.
Groups and high-raking individuals from around the world have described the charges against Sowore as baseless and a waste of time.
The journalist remains confined to Abuja as one of his bail conditions forbids him from leaving the city or speaking with journalists until the end of his trial, which has now been put on hold by the outbreak of Coronavirus in Nigeria and closure of courts in the country.