By Mazino Dickson, Abuja
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams has appealed to the Federal Government to release the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (ACC), Omoyele Sowore.
Adams said that such arrest portended grave danger for Nigeria’s democracy.
Sowore was arrested by the police from the Department of State Services (DSS) over a planned revolutionary protest scheduled for Monday, August 5 – they accused him of plotting to force a regime change in the country.
But in his reaction, Adams said the arrest was an abuse of human right to freedom, stating that the planned revolutionary protest could not be said to be treasonable since it was yet to be implemented before he was arrested by the DSS.
He said that Nigeria’s problems emanated from the military’s dictatorship and tendency to gag the press and prevent freedom of speech and expression.
“Not everybody can have access to the presidency in Abuja. This is democracy, not militarism, where people are cowed and jailed over issues relating to their welfare”
“Sowore is an activist, and he was part of the struggle for this democracy. Therefore, he is entitled to express his feelings and that of Nigerians in a democratic setting.”
“I think the Federal Government should consider his freedom as a panacea for peace. For instance, I wonder how a peaceful protest by harmless citizens will now turn to a treasonable felony,” he added.
Adams also noted that it was unfortunate that many of the people at the corridors of power today were part of the protests against former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, but added that today the situation has changed.
“I am afraid they wanted to draw the nation backward to those years of the military, where people’s rights to freedom and other fundamental human rights were alien to the military.
“Even in countries that have good institutions and good welfare policies, the citizens still organise peaceful protest and the government will surely listen to them.
“As an activist and promoter of peace, I have engaged in various rallies and protests. On each occasions, we consulted widely, taking into considerations so many factors,including the rights of Nigerians to embark on protest.
“I also noted that such rights should not translate to a violent or forceful protest”
He described Nigeria as a democratic republic, noting that the unlawful detention of a people could lead to further crisis.
“The Federal Government must try as much as possible to avoid this by listening to the cries of Nigerians,” he said.
Adams said the Federal Government should free Sowore and formulate policy programmes that have direct impact on the mass of the people.