An American Nobel Laureate in Economics, Edmund Phelps, joined other global academics, writers and activists to demand that Nigeria drop charges against an activist, Omoyele Sowore.
Mr Sowore was arrested and detained for calling for a nationwide protest, tagged #RevolutionNow, against bad governance.
The State Security Service (SSS), which arrested Mr Sowore, has charged him with treason and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.
Despite being granted bail on Tuesday, Mr Sowore was yet to be released at the time of this report.
In an open letter sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, the 72 writers, academics and activists described Mr Sowore as a ‘world-renowned journalist.”
“Mr. Sowore is a world-renowned journalist. He has pioneered new and important avenues in the field of investigative journalism. He is a graduate of the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. In addition, he is the founder of the well-known online investigative news outlet, Sahara Reporters that focuses on corruption and political misconduct,” they wrote.’
Some of the signatories include Columbia University journalism professors, Anya Schiffrin, Ann Cooper, Sheila Coronel and Bruce Shapiro as well as a Nigerian professor and author, Okey Ndibe.
Below is the duplicate of the letter and the signatories:
Dear Sir or Madame,
We, the undersigned, write to express our deep concern regarding the arrest of journalist and activist Mr. Omoyele Sowore in Nigeria on August 3, 2019. Sowore was detained without bail by the Nigerian State Security Service in Lagos. There are seven charges against him including treason and money laundering. A High Court judge has ruled that Sowore should be released pending his trial but must surrender his passport.
Mr. Sowore is a world-renowned journalist. He has pioneered new and important avenues in the field of investigative journalism. He is a graduate of the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. In addition, he is the founder of the well-known online investigative news outlet, Sahara Reporters that focuses on corruption and political misconduct.
Many colleagues in the worlds of journalism and academia hold Mr. Sowore in great esteem for his life-long effort in speaking truth to power.
Please consider dropping the charges against Mr. Sowore and please release him as soon as possible.
Ned Phelps, winner of the 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
Philippe Sands QC, President of English PEN,
Niran Okewole, Second Vice President, PEN Nigeria & Chair, Writers in Prison Committee Karen Attiah
Eliza Margarita Bates
Ann Cooper, Professor Emirata, Columbia Journalism School
Sheila Coronel, Professor, Columbia Journalism School
Claudia Dreifus, Professor, Columbia University
Daniel J Gorman
Victor Herrero Aguayo
Karolina Koc Michalska
Thomas Lansner, Professor, Columbia University
Sarah Jane Noujeim
Nathaniel Parrish Flannery
Julia Ritz Toffoli
Philippe Sands QC
Joseph J Sass
Bruce Shapiro, Journalist and Professor, Dart Center, Columbia Journalism School