The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has dragged the Federal government of Nigeria to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention over the detention of a human rights activist and organiser of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, and four other activists for protesting on New Year Eve.
Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, made this known in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr Kolawole said the complaint was sent to the UN body on Monday, January 4.
TVC News had on Monday reported that Omoyele Sowore and four other activists were arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
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They were charged on a three-count, but pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Thereafter, the Magistrate ordered Sowore, Juwon Sanyaolu, Peter Williams, Emmanuel Bulus and Damilare Adenola to be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the consideration of their bail applications on Tuesday (today).
They were earlier arrested for holding a protest against bad governance on New Year’s Eve in Abuja and subsequently taken to a police unit infamously known as ‘Abattoir’ in the Lokogoma area of the FCT.
However, SERAP demanded the release of the detained activists and a probe into their arrest and detention.
The statement reads partly, “The detention of Omoyele Sowore and four other activists constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of their liberty because it does not have any legal justification. The detention also does not meet minimum international standards of due process.
“The arrest, continued detention and torture and ill-treatment of Mr Sowore and four other activists solely for peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is a flagrant violation of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 (as amended) and international human rights law. They are now facing bogus charges simply for exercising their human rights.
“We urge the Working Group to request the Nigerian government to investigate and hold accountable all police officers and security agents suspected to be responsible for the unlawful arrest, continued detention, and torture and other ill-treatment of Mr Sowore and four other activists.”
Meanwhile, while addressing Journalists yesterday, Mr Sowore accused the federal government and the Police of hurriedly filing charges against him. He said the charge sheet has his name wrongly spelt.
The court will today (Tuesday) hear the bail application of the defendants.