A former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, has hailed SaharaReporters Publisher, Omoyele Sowore, for standing with the masses and speaking against bad governance in Nigeria.
Odinkalu spoke in commemoration of the first anniversary of #RevolutionNow protest – an occasion that saw Nigerians in large numbers taking to the streets to demand better governance from the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Sowore, Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, was arrested on August 3, 2019 by the Department of State Services (DSS) and kept in jail from that period until December 24 when an international outrage forced Buhari’s government to release him after initially flouting two court orders sanctioning his freedom on bail.
Odinkalu, who condemned the bail condition Sowore was admitted to, said the Nigerian Government had failed to substantiate any charges against him.
He said, “I think it’s important to recognize the courage and sacrifice of Omoyele Sowore and to be grateful for it. I think more than any other person in the past four, five years, he has been prepared to pay a price for his conviction. A high price with the government that lacks compulsion on this matter, he has been single minded and it’s not unusual for Nigerians to show that kind of single mindedness he has shown. So, I really respect him.
“Despite the best effort of the government to nail him, they have not been able to substantiate any charges against him. It seems clear the only reason they prepared charges against him was for administrative detention and that’s not good in a democracy. They have not produced any witness after one year in a case they claimed is treasonable felony. They have shown other unseriousness in frustrating the case.
“You have heard the Court in Lagos validating the right of citizens to stage the #RevolutionNow protest, you have heard charges against the #RevolutionNow protesters dismissed, so the court has stood out the right Sowore called out Nigerians for.”
The former NHRC boss further enjoined Nigerians to come out en mass on Wednesday to speak against bad governance, corruption and insecurity.
He added, “We can’t expect a country if we are not willing to stand up for it, Sowore has showed us that it is possible to fight, it’s now left for us to decide either we want to fight or not, this is not Sowore’s fight but a fight for the future of the country.”