The police in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have arraigned human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, and his colleagues at the Wuse Magistrate Court for leading a peaceful protest on New Year’s Eve.
However, the trumped-up charges on which he was arraigned are still shrouded in mystery.
The FCT police have prepared trumped-up charges against the activists, despite calls from global and national rights groups condemning the police brutality, arrest and detention.
SaharaReporters exposed last Friday how the police authorities had concluded plans to detain the activists till Monday as they went in search of a magistrate who would do their bidding.
“What they are currently doing is to detain them till Monday and look for a magistrate who will grant them a detention order to detain the activists, especially Sowore for 45 or 90 days,” a source had informed SaharaReporters.
The police this morning have now gone ahead to arraign Sowore, and his colleagues; Juwon Sanyaolu, Damilare Adenola, Peter and Kimrere.
Only on Saturday, global human rights’ body, Amnesty International, had called on the Nigerian government to “immediately and unconditionally release” Sowore, and other activists who were arrested by the police during the New Year’s Eve peaceful protest in Abuja.
AI noted that the arrest solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is a flagrant violation of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international human rights obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Amnesty had described Sowore’s continued detention as a matter of concern for Nigeria.
“His case shows just how far Nigerian authorities can go to silence peaceful dissent. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari must stop targeting activists and respect the human rights of everyone.
“Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough, and effective investigation into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment during the period leading to the arrest of Sowore and other activists, and for anyone suspected to be responsible to be brought to justice in fair trials.
“Omoyele Sowore is an Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience who is currently facing unfair trials on the basis of bogus and politically motivated charges,” the body had stated.
SaharaReporters, New York