Sowore: Another face of impunity


By Ogumah Karl

 

SIR: On January 1, Omoyele Sowore and three others decided to stage a peaceful protest in Abuja to bring to the notice of the general public, the issues of human rights violations and other issues affecting the Nigeria people as they entered into the new year under the Buhari regime.

To the chagrin of Nigerians, they were rounded up, commando- style and bundled in to the notorious cell of SARS where they were brutalized and dehumanized for just exercising their right to protest and dissent! They spent over 75 hours before they were taken to a magistrate court where they were charged with incitement and other ridiculous charges and later remanded in Kuje prisons. Listening to the prosecutor as made the statements on their arrest and arraignment on channels TV, one could not but see the degenerate state we have sunk as a country!

Looking critically at the reasons behind their arrest and brutal treatment in the cell of the police/SARS  and the eventual charges laid against them,  the immortal words of Aesop came live into my mind: “ Any excuse will serve a tyrant”.

From the evidence available to the public on the spate of illegal arrests and detentions of innocent Nigerians on trivial  accusations of wanting to overthrow and or breach public peace anytime citizens exercise their rights to disagree with government through protest,  it is clear that the cartels in charge of this government want and seek to gag and suppress the rights of citizens.  The resultant effects of the suppression the citizens is the moribund governance, depressed economy, insurgency,  banditry and kidnappings that now bedevils our dear country!

For me, there are many agonising issues calling for government attention far more than trying to suppress the rights and  voice of citizens. Today the security situation in Nigeria is at an abysmal level and everyone seems to now go for self-help! The emerging issues surrounding the formation of Amotekun in the Southwest, the Hisbah in the North and the recent recruitment and parades of soldiers by Biafran agitators should be the issues that should occupy the mind of a serious government!

I think if there is anything disturbing the government, it should be how to remove the country from the current depression we are now; to revamp the security arrangements by removing the failed leadership that’s now even obvious to the blind that the service chiefs have to go and allow for fresh air in that sector!  Secondly, the issues of massive unemployment which has indirectly fed the recruitment gap for the kidnapping trade should be of top priority to government than that of arresting citizens who hold different views from those in government!

Clearly the suppression of the rights of citizens to freely express themselves will do more harm to the already battered image of the country under the Buhari than it will help them cow the citizens from holding dissenting voices! The country is bleeding already and the government should not further put yoke on it!

Again to Nigerians, we must rise up and call this government to order and from further drifting into absolute dictatorship and unguarded exercise of crass impunity. We must heed to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s warning never to allow people particularly the ones in power exceed their rights as  they will soon began to have unlimited rights! We must all stand up against injustice for in the words of Martin Luther King; ‘ injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’!

 


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