Stop the descent into lawlessness

Stop the descent into lawlessness

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Seun Kolade started this petition to United Nations Human Rights Council (United Nations) and

On 3rd August 2019, Omoyele Sowore, Nigeria's pro-democracy activist and publisher of the online newspaper Sahara Reporters, was arrested by officers of the Nigerian Department of State Security Services. His offence was that he called for a citizen protest against misgovernance in Nigeria. After languishing in illegal detention for several weeks, he was finally charged to court. On 6th November, the court ruled that Sowore and others detained with him should be released immediately on bail. This order was defied for another 30 days, until  he was temporarily released following a new court order on 5th December. On 6th December while in court, armed security forces stormed the premises, chased the judge out of the court chambers at gun point, and forcibly removed Sowore from the premises.

We, concerned Nigerians at home and in diaspora, and other stakeholders and lovers of freedom across the world, are deeply concerned about this precipitous descent into lawlessness in Nigeria. Given the recent history of Nigeria and how official lawlessness and prejudicial killing of suspects in custody aggravated chaos and violent conflict in Northern Nigeria, we are deeply concerned that the Nigerian government under President Buhari is fanning the embers of lawlessness and destroying the very foundations of democracy on which he rose to power. We are also worried about a disturbing pattern that has emerged under the current Nigerian government: systematic erosion of the independence of the judiciary, intimidation of judges, and a gradual abandon of the principles of separation of powers. 

We are therefore calling on the United Nations and other stakeholders across the world to call on the Nigerian government to respect the rule of law and stop this calamitous descent into anarchy. A government can not lay claim to legitimacy while it defies the law, close down the space for public scrutiny, and treat peaceful protest as crime.

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