One of Nigeria’s revered lawyers, Femi Falana (SAN), has said condemned the arrest of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, by the Department of State Service (DSS).
The human rights activist in a statement he issued on Sunday added that protest marches in Nigeria are not treasonable offences.
Concise News had reported that the police vowed to resist any act that can lead to a breach of law and order in the country, while describing the planned protests by Sowore and some individuals as ‘treasonable felony and acts of terrorism’.
But reacting, Falana noted that the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests.
“No doubt, the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests. If revolution has become a criminal offence in Nigeria why were the leaders of the APC not charged for claiming to have carried out Nigeria’s democratic revolution which terminated the 16-year rule of the PDP in 2015?
“Why was Dr Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) not threatened with treason when he asked Nigerians to rise up for revolution via the 2019 general election?
“Did all Nigerian senators led by APC members not commit treason or terrorism when they spent one and a half hours on May 14, 2019 to debate Senator Chukwuka Utazi’s timely motion on “Bridging the gap between the haves and have-not to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution?, he asked.
Falana also criticised the Muhammadu Buhari administration for clamping down on individuals perceived as its critics.
He noted that “it is worrisome that the Buhari administration has decided to extend the ambit of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act to cover individuals and organisations that are critical of official policies or perceived marginalisation within the federation.”