Human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner, Joe Okei-Odumakin, has called on the Nigerian government to respect the rights of journalists.
Mrs Okei-Odumakin said the freedom and fundamental rights of citizens are not subject to the whims and caprices of security operatives or of the government they purport to work for.
In a statement issued on Monday, Mrs Okei-Odumakin who is the President, Centre for Change, condemned the arrest and manhandling of the publisher of Sahara Reporters and convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, by the police in Abuja.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Mr Sowore was arrested earlier on Monday by security operatives arround the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja, where he had gone to observe proceedings in the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“Reports have it that Sowore was released later in the day by the security operatives.
“These must stop. The freedoms, liberties, and fundamental rights of citizens are not at the whims and caprices of security operatives or of the government they purport to work for.
“Security operatives are public servants who owe their authority to the Constitution and not to the government of the day.
“Governments come and go but citizens remain the boss of those in government at all times,” Mrs Okei-Odumakin said.
She noted that the public deserves to be informed of goings-on.
“Sowore was accosted as he lifestreamed activities around the court vicinity. His phone was also seized from him before he was whisked away.
“The camera belonging to Brock Media was equally snatched from the journalist, Yusuf Rock, while the journalist narrowly escaped arrest.
“All these harassment of journalists performing their lawful duty of informing the populace must cease.
“The media have been saddled with the responsibility of holding government accountable to the people.
“This duty they must be allowed to perform without shackles and hindrances of any sort.
“Once again it bears repeating that this is a democracy and a nation under law, not a dictatorship or banana republic,” the statement reads in part.
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