The Ijaw Youth Council says the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is bent on suppressing and silencing critics of his government with the arrest of the convener of the #RevolutionNow protest group, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
IYC, while calling for Sowore’s immediate release, noted that the Sahara Reporters publisher had not done anything wrong to warrant his arrest in “commando style” by security operatives.
Sowore was arrested in the early hours of Saturday by operatives of the Department of State Services and Nigeria Police Force over the protest billed to commence on Monday nationwide.
In a statement on Monday signed by its president, Mr. Eric Omare, IYC faulted the arrest of the former student unionist, saying the proposed protest was aimed at drawing the attention of the Federal Government to myriad of problems confronting Nigerians.
The statement accused President Buhari of attempting to silence dissenting voices, adding that “criticisms are the hallmark of democracy.”
It reads, “IYC demands the immediate release of Mr. Sowore Omoyele, who was arrested in commando style by officers of the Department of State Services in the early hours of Saturday, August 3, 2019 over his planned nationwide protest.
“The IYC considers the arrest an attempt to suppress dissenting voices in the nation. The right to express dissent is the hallmark of democracy. There is no democracy without the people having the right to express their dissatisfaction with the way they are governed.
“In the opinion of the IYC, Mr. Sowore’s planned protest against persistent killings all over the country and the state of governance falls within the right to protest in a democratic society and does not amount to treason in any form. We completely disagree with the statements issued by the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police to the effect that the planned protest is treasonable.”
Omare stated that the continued detention of Sowore would only increase the number of Mr. President’s critics, saying that the Federal Government should quickly move to address the issues for which the protesters are storming streets of Nigeria.
“The fact that the planned protest is styled ‘Revolution’ is of no issue. To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Sowore has not called for overthrow of government.
“All that the protest calls for, is for government to live up to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties and improve the socio-economic conditions of Nigerians, which is the primary responsibility of government as provided for in the 1999 Constitution, which President Buhari has sworn to defend and uphold.
“Therefore, we demand that Mr. Sowore be released unconditionally without delay.
“The Federal Government must note that, trying to suppress voices of dissent in a democracy would only increase the voices of dissent.
“Release Sowore Omoyele now!” it added.