Nigeria: High-Profile Activist Omoyele Sowore Arrested, Denied Bail

Omoyele Sowore

Prominent Nigerian publisher and activist Omoyele Sowore has been refused bail by authorities after being arrested for an "unlawful gathering" on New Year's Eve along with four others, according to his lawyer Femi Falana.

Falana told Nigeria's Punch newspaper on Sunday that Sowore had been denied bail over alleged breaches of Covid-19 protocols.

Nigerian police arrested five activists on 1 January following a call from local residents complaining about an "unusual gathering", the authorities said.

They were arrested for "unlawfully gathering at very odds hours" and causing tension amongst residents, a police spokesperson told the AFP news agency.

On New Year's Eve, Sowore used social media to call for demonstrations under the banner #EndBadGoveranceInNigeria, sending photos encouraging Nigerians to take to the streets.

Sowore, a fierce critic of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, is founder of the Sahara Reporters news outlet, which often publishes damning investigations.

#CrossoverWithProtest movement in ONDO state calling for an #EndBadGoveranceInNigeria! #Nogoinhback pic.twitter.com/PHdcvuQQDr

- Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) December 31, 2020

Falana said his client had been beaten by police officers and was forced to seek medical attention. The lawyer said the police were waiting for "orders from above", since he judged that breaking Covid-19 measures is itself a bailable offence.

Sowore urged his supporters to hold a candlelight protest on 31 December 2020, sharing photos of fellow anti-government activists holding placards reading, "#RevolutionNow! End bad governance, I stand with Sowore".

The activist previously stood as a presidential contender in the February 2019 elections, and his arrest comes following a wave of protests in Nigeria complaining about police brutality, dubbed #EndSARS, referring to the Anti-Robbery Squad, despised by protesters.

More From: RFI

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

X