The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari regime to release the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (ACC), Omoyele Sowore.
According to Adams, Sowore's arrest can have damaging effects on Nigeria’s democracy.
“It is unfortunate that many of the people at the corridors of power today were part of the protests against former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, but today the situation has changed.
“I am afraid they wanted to draw the nation back to those years of the military, where people’s rights to freedom and other fundamental human rights were alien to the military. Even in countries that have good institutions and good welfare policies, the citizens still organize peaceful protests and the government will surely listen to them," he said.
The publisher of SaharaReporters and convener of Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) operatives over a planned 'revolutionary' protest.
The Yoruba generalissimo who had participated in various protests across the country noted further: “As an activist and promoter of peace, I have engaged in various rallies and protests. On each occasion, we consulted widely, taking into considerations so many factors, including the rights of Nigerians to embark on a protest. I also noted that such rights should not translate to a violent or forceful protest.
“Nigeria is a democratic republic, therefore, unlawful detention of a people can lead to further crisis and the Federal Government must try as much as it is possible to avoid this by listening to the cries of Nigerians. The federal government should free Sowore and formulate policy programmes that have a direct impact on the mass of the people."
But the Nigeria Police Force had claimed that the activist wanted to force a regime change in the country.
Supporting Sowore, Adams explained in a statement: “Not everybody can have access to the presidency in Abuja. This is a democracy, not militarism, where people are cowed and jailed over issues relating to their welfare.
“Sowore is an activist, and he was part of the struggle for this democracy. Therefore, he is entitled to express his feelings and that of Nigerians in a democratic setting. I think the federal government should consider his freedom as a panacea for peace. For instance, I wonder how a peaceful protest by harmless citizens will now turn to a treasonable felony."