The United States Government has issued a statement after Omoyele Sowore, the convener of RevolutionNow movement, was arbitrarily re-arrested in a courtroom by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Sowore was first arrested on August 3, 2019, by DSS operatives for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets to protest against the government.
Despite two court orders for his release, the DSS refused to release him until on Thursday night, December 6, 2019.
Hours later, on Friday, DSS operatives invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja and re-arrest Sowore, who was released barely 24hour after spending 124 days in their detention.
Reacting in a statement on Friday, Senator Bob Menendez, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from New Jersey, described the incident as a “blatant miscarriage of justice” which is “symptomatic of closing political and media space in Nigeria.”
He warned the Nigerian government that if any harms come to Sowore, there will be consequences.
Menendez also said America will review its relationship with Nigeria over the continued detention and rearrest of the activist.
“The United States is watching, the world is watching and will be reviewing our relationship with the Nigeria government,
I fear that the blatant harassment of Mr Omoyele Sowore, an activist and journalist whose only crime appears to be exercising his right to free expression, is becoming symptomatic of increasingly closing political and civic space in Nigeria,” Menendez said.
“The Nigerian court has twice ordered his release on bail. And the state security agencies openly defied the court order each time leaving me to conclude that either Nigeria no longer respects the rule of law or President Buhari is woefully out of touch with what agents of his governments are doing in his name.
“This is unacceptable in a country that calls itself a democracy. Journalists who risk their lives to expose the truth should be celebrated, not incarcerated.
“It is unacceptable to that the husband and father of a US citizen with such blatant cruelty. Today, my office contacted our ambassador in Nigeria in an effort to obtain answers on what actions the United States is taking on the Sowore family’s behalf.
“In the next several days, I’ll continue to engage with the states department in Washington to ascertain the impart of what the arrest of Mr Sowore and other activists and journalists will have on our relationship with Nigeria. My hope is that the bilateral relationship we have with Nigeria will be reassessed in light of these events.”
Watch the video below:
US respond officially @MBuhari Barbarism on Sowore
“We are watching and will be reviewing our relationship with the Nigeria government and any harms that comes to Sowore, there will be consequences”
US Senator Menendez addressed world press conference with Sowore’s wife pic.twitter.com/cad6njH4ed
— Kikelomo sowore (@KikelomoSowore) December 7, 2019