A coalition of former 2019 presidential aspirants and candidates in Nigeria have written to President Muhammadu Buhari calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters and the 2019 presidential candidate of the African Action Congress. Sowore was arrested by the country’s secret police from his apartment in Lagos on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
In a letter signed by seven former presidential aspirants and candidates, the group declared the arrest of the activist, who was organising a civil protest over the state of Nigeria, as illegal and a breach of the constitution of the county.
The letter dated August 5, 2019, which was copied to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, was also e-mailed to The Trent.
It is reproduced below:
FROM: The Coalition of former 2019 Nigerian Presidential Aspirants and Candidates
TO: President Muhammadu Buhari
Aso Rock, Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT
August 5, 2019
Hon. Ahmed Lawan, President of the Senate The Senate, NASS Complex, Abuja, FCT
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, Federal House of Representative (FHR) FHR, NASS, Complex, Abuja, FCT
Ref: The Illegal Arrest of Omoyele Sowore
We, the Coalition of former 2019 Presidential Aspirants and Candidates, under the aegis of Third Force Forum, hereby demand the unconditional release of one of our compatriots, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, who was arrested by an agency of the government on August 2, 2019, pursuant to plans for a protest march across Nigeria; which is within his full constitutional rights toward “Freedom of Expression”, pursuant to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We must also remind you Mr. President, that in addition to the Nigerian Constitution, Nigeria also subscribes to other International Treaties, which prohibit violation of human rights of her citizens. To refrain from adhering to these national and international rights, is to invite anarchy onto the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As you are fully aware Mr. President, every democratic government that subscribes to the Rule of Law, has time-tested methods of containing any breach of the peace during peaceful protests; without clamping down on our fundamental rights of “Freedom of Expression” and to peaceably assemble, in-order to address grievances by the government; even when those views expressed are contrary to the views of the current government.
Therefore, we implore you to immediately order the applicable agencies of the State to immediately release Mr. Omoyele Sowore unconditionally, in-order to maintain peace in our country, and to deter further national and international repercussions on this matter.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter Mr. President, we look forward to a mutually respectful Nigeria for all Nigerians.
Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, 2019 Presidential Aspirant, All Progressives Congress (APC)
Hon. Tope Fasua, 2019 Presidential Candidate, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP)
Hon. Okey Samuel Mbonu, 2019 Presidential Aspirant, Labour Party (LP)
Dr. Thomas-Wilson Ikhubese, 2019 Presidential Aspirant, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN)
Dr. Emmanuel Etim, 2019 Presidential Candidate, Change Nigeria Party (CNP)
Dr. Ayodele O. Favour, 2019 Presidential Aspirant, Young Progressives Party (YPP)
Hon. Clement Jimbo, 2019 Presidential Aspirant, Social Democratic Party (SDP)
ON BEHALF OF the Coalition of the 2019 Former Presidential Aspirants and Candidates (Third Force Forum)