The Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom has called on the Nigerian government to release Omoyele Sowore, the Publisher of Sahara reporters.
The arrest of Mr Sowore on allegations of treason is of grave concern to the Coalition. The Nigerian constitution gives the right for Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Protests in section 22, 26 and 39, and these rights cannot be ignored by any individual or government, least of all a democratically elected government.
In a democratic government, Chapter 9, Article 11 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights provides for Right to Freedom of Assembly Chapter 4 Section 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria guarantees the right to freedom of assembly.
According to the Press Attack Tracker, in the last five years of this current administration, violations against the press has increased by 70% in comparison to the previous administration.
Several members of this Coalition have suffered harassments and infringement of their rights, the most recent being the threats of reprisals on the Publisher and members of staff of OrderPaper by Honorable Tony Nwulu a former member of the House of Representatives.
Outside of the Coalition, the persistent name-calling and harassment of Amnesty Nigeria, an international human rights organisation is another disturbing sign of how far off-kilter the country and its administrators have fallen.
The Coalition reiterates that no democracy worth its salt can abide by these violations of constitutionally guaranteed rights and thus calls on President Muhammadu Buhari, who has sworn an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, to immediately release Mr Omoyele Sowore with all allegations against him dropped.
African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
Civic Media Lab
Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC)
Daily Trust Newspaper
HEDA Resource Centre
International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)
International Press Centre (IPC)
Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ)
Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism