Like several other Nigerians and groups, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to release Omoyele Sowore.
The group said that the arrest showed the ruling party was suppressing dissenting voices in the nation.
It warned that failure to immediately release Sowore would only help in multiplying the number of Buhari’s critics.
Sowore, the convener of RevolutionNow protest, which kicked off on Monday, was arrested in his home by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) since last Saturday.
His arrest, coupled with alleged arbitrary arrests of RevolutionNow protesters on Monday by security operatives, has continued to generate different reactions.
IYC in its response on the matter in a statement by its president, Mr. Eric Omare, faulted the government, arguing that “criticisms are the hallmark of democracy.”
He said, “IYC demands the immediate release of Mr. Sowore Omoyele, who was arrested in commando style by officers of the Department of State Services in the early hours of Saturday, August 3, 2019 over his planned nationwide protest.
“The IYC considers the arrest an attempt to suppress dissenting voices in the nation. The right to express dissent is the hallmark of democracy. There is no democracy without the people having the right to express their dissatisfaction with the way they are governed.
“In the opinion of the IYC, Mr. Sowore’s planned protest against persistent killings all over the country and the state of governance falls within the right to protest in a democratic society and does not amount to treason in any form. We completely disagree with the statements issued by the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police to the effect that the planned protest is treasonable.”
Noting that the continued detention of Sowore would only assist in increasing the number of “Mr. President’s critics” Omare said:
“The fact that the planned protest is styled ‘Revolution’ is of no issue. To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Sowore has not called for overthrow of government.
“All that the protest calls for, is for government to live up to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties and improve the socio-economic conditions of Nigerians, which is the primary responsibility of government as provided for in the 1999 Constitution, which President Buhari has sworn to defend and uphold.
“Therefore, we demand that Mr. Sowore be released unconditionally without delay.”
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