Six United States lawmakers have accused the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of undemocratic activities and disrespect for the rule of law.
The lawmakers in a joint letter written to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over the continued detention of #RevolutionNow protest convener, Omoyele Sowore, said “as the largest democracy in Africa, Nigeria has an opportunity and responsibility to serve as model for following the established rule of law under its own constitution.”
The lawmakers who signed the letter are Senators Robert Menendez; Charles Schumer; Cory Booker and Christopher Coons, as well as Congressmen Bill Pascrell and John Gotheirmer.
The lawmakers expressed grave concern over what they perceived to be state impunity and secrecy surrounding the trial of Sowore, whom they said was not getting the right to a fair trial.
Their letter further stated: “Disturbing videos of the melee in court are circulating, which appear to show armed agents in court and Mr Sowore being placed in choke hold after which he was re-detained by DSS, though no new charges have since been filed to justify this re-detention.
“We understand that his case has since been placed within your purview.
“We are pleased to stand alongside Nigeria as a democratic country.
“As the largest democracy in Africa, Nigeria has an opportunity and responsibility to serve as model for following the established rule of law under its own constitution.
“And as with all advanced democracies, this includes the lawful application of prosecutorial powers and actions as well as ultimate compliance with judicial rulings. In the case of Mr Sowore, this does not appear to have happened.”
They stated that Nigeria ought to learn to uphold basic human rights of citizens, including their “freedom of expressions and political affiliation without fear of government reprisal and harassment, particularly for opposing or dissenting voices.”
The lawmakers urged the AGF to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and security of Sowore while he is held in government custody.
” Your office should work to facilitate speedy and fair resolution to the circumstances of his re-detention and ensure he receives a legally sound and credible trial,” the lawmakers said.