From Idowu Abdullahi, Lagos
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Tuesday described the release of SaharaReporters Publisher, Omoyele Sowore, as victory for the rule of law, human rights and judicial independence.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Federal High Court had yesterday ordered the immediate release of Sowore, who is the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, and a Presidential candidate in the last election.
Taiwo also struck out the DSS application seeking to further detained the activist.
However, SERAP in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the judgement was a huge relief for the activist and other Nigerians.
“It’s a huge relief that Sowore will be freed and can finally return to his family and journalism work. He should never have been detained in the first place. The Nigerian authorities should now withdraw all the charges against him and allow freedom of expression and media freedom to flourish. It’s good for everyone.”
“The Nigerian authorities now have to fully comply with this ruling by immediately releasing Sowore. The decision is a timely reminder of Nigeria’s constitutional and international obligations to protect journalists, activists and Nigerians in general, and to put a stop to its current practice of restricting the civic space.”
The group also urged the governments at all levels to resist the temptation of cracking down on freedom of expression.
“We hope this decision will make the Nigerian authorities and state governors stop and reflect on their ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression and media freedom including online, and also help to put an end to other human rights violations of journalists and citizens in general. Other journalists like Agba Jalingo and Ekanem Ekpo currently being detained, must be immediately and unconditionally released.” the statement said.
“If a court found it possible to release Sowore, we are sure that all the circumstances were studied, and an objective decision was made.”