Sowore: American Nobel Laureate, academics, others urge Nigeria to drop charges

In what is clearly a brutal assault on free speech, Omoyele Sowore was arrested.
In what is clearly a brutal assault on free speech, Omoyele Sowore was arrested.

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.

Sincerely,

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
Shanta Bloemen
Clifford Bob
Christopher Booker
Anissa Bouziane
Cate Brown
Thanassii Cambanis
Prue Clarke
Ann Cooper, Professor Emirata, Columbia Journalism School
Sheila Coronel, Professor, Columbia Journalism School
Peter Cunliffe-Jones
Jacqueline Davalos
Amira Dhalla
Marius Draogmir
Claudia Dreifus, Professor, Columbia University
Pamela Druckerman
Ingrid Ernø
Liza Featherstone
Rana Foroohar
Catherine Gicheru
Todd Gitlin
Misha Glenny
Daniel J Gorman
Steven Greenhouse
Kristen Grennan
Emilie Guitard
Ferrial Haffajee
Ernest Harsch
Victor Herrero Aguayo
James Hollings
Robert Howse
Tim Karr
Shruti Kedia
Ruby Khan
Sameeksha Khare
Peter Klein
Sophie Knowles
Karolina Koc Michalska
Andrea Kramar
Kamel Labidi
Kirsty Lang
Thomas Lansner, Professor, Columbia University
Jan Lublinski
Tom Maliti
Gregory Mann
Mira Milosevic
Miriam Missbichler
Elise Mougin
Jessica Murray
Okey Ndibe
Akbar Noman
Sarah Jane Noujeim
Anselm Okolo
Dayo Olopade
Barnaby Pace
Nathaniel Parrish Flannery
Viviana Phelps
Julia Ritz Toffoli
Felix Salmon
Philippe Sands QC
Joseph J Sass
Anya Schiffrin
Bruce Shapiro, Journalist and Professor, Dart Center, Columbia Journalism School
Jayeeta Sharma
Christoph Spurk
Dean Starkman
Mark Steitz
Ruti Teitel
Raffi Wartanian

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