Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has beratee the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Nigeria Police Force for incessantly physically tormenting and harassing publisher of Sahara Reporters Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
In a statement, the association said the arrest of Sowore for carrying out peaceful protests was wrong.
The rights group said the arrest of the activist confirmed the intelligence it got before the New Year that the year 2021 would be tough for civil rights campaigners in Nigeria because the federal government would unleash what it called ‘scorched-earth anti-activists policies which components will include forced disappearances, armed abductions and mass arrests of human rights activists.’
HURIWA said the reported threat to the lives of Sowore and his associates by armed police from the Federal Capital Territory’s command who rounded the protesters up during their solemn cross over candle lights procession was not just unconstitutional and illegal but a violation of the rights to religious freedom, freedoms of movement, association and peaceful assembly as guaranteed by chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.
It said: “This Nigeria Police Force has indeed refused to heed the voice of reason to change their terrible modus operandi as a force for evil and as an anti democratic reactionary elements.
“The Nigeria Police Force needs to be tailored and refocused to confront and combat widespread violence tearing apart the fabrics of our nation state and join the men and officers of the armed forces to battle the expanding frontiers of terror attacks in the North East of Nigeria and the North West.
“The police should learn to respect the constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens. What Sowore and his associates did by assembling in Gudu junction in the nation’s capital has in no way constituted any threats to the national security interests of Nigeria.”
HURIWA called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the police to immediately release unconditionally Sowore and his associates.
HURIWA had in a new year message warned that Human rights defenders would come under attack in 2021.
It expressed disappointment and consternation at the declining respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens and the fast shrinking civic spaces in Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also expressed fears and anxieties over the declining state of governance in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory which it said would push millions of Nigerians into poverty.