The European Union has said it will continue to stand firm on principles of freedom of speech and rights to peaceful demonstration.
The organisation, which made the statement on Thursday in Abuja through its Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, was reacting to the continued detention of activist and convener of the RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore.
The Sahara Reporters publisher was in the early hours of Saturday arrested in Lagos by operatives of the Department of State Security for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets to voice out their anger with bad governance in the country.
In his statement, Karlsen said, “The European Union stands firm on the principles of freedom of speech and our fundamental values. Of course, it is important in any democratic society for people to be able to participate.
“I am not aware of any petition following the latest events in Nigeria but what I can say is that as long as people seek peaceful means to demonstrate and voice their political opinion, this is what we see as a natural part of a thriving democracy.
“Ay democracy or any society in the world must jealously guard and make sure that such pronouncements are always non-violent and that they respect the fundamental rules of the game and democracy at the end of the day and it is for the Nigerian justice system, in the end, to follow up on specific cases and as long as these cases are being dealt with in the Nigerian justice system, it is not for the EU or the EU ambassador to judge what is right or wrong in these occasions.
“But of course, we always follow very carefully when there are dissenting voices in the countries where we operate and we listen very carefully to all of them.”
On Thursday morning, a Federal High Court in Abuja granted an ex-parte order to the DSS to continue to detain Sowore.
The move has been met with heavy backlash with many prominent voices within and outside Nigeria calling for his immediate release.