The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Justin Welby and asked him to convince President Muhammadu Buhari to obey court orders and respect the rule of law.
SERAP, in the letter urged the cleric to use his good office and known closeness with President Buhari to convince him on the matter.
President Buhari is known for his closeness to the Welby and often visits him whenever he (President Buhari) is in London.
SERAP asked Welby to prevail on Buhari to obey court orders on detained individuals, most recently on activists Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare who remain in detention despite a court ordering their release.
SERAP, which expressed “serious concerns about the disturbing trends by state governments and Federal Government to use the court as a tool to suppress citizens’ human rights,” in the letter dated November 11, 2019 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “We believe you can use your leadership position and influence to persuade President Buhari to promote the rule of law in words and in action by obeying all court orders including the order for the release of Mr. Sowore and Mr. Bakare from arbitrary detention.”
The group said as the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the cleric should be able to convince the President to respect the Nigerian judiciary.
“Journalist and activist Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare are facing trial on seven- count charge of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari, simply for exercising their human rights. Mr. Sowore was arrested on August 3 by Nigeria’s State Security Service for planning a protest.
“Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted Sowore and Bakare bail but the security agents have continued to refuse to release them despite being served with the court orders. This refusal implicitly violates the defendants’ constitutional rights to presumption of innocence.”
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