FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND LAWFUL GATHERING ARE IMMUTABLE HUMAN RIGHTS.
Today, being the 3rd of August, 2019 began with news of the arrest and detention of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, SaharaReporters Group founder and convener of the #RevolutuonIsNow movement which had a public protest slated for 5th August, 2019 against the Nigeria Government for having allegedly failed the Nigerian people.
We state, categorically, that we as a Group do not hold a brief for any political movement, nor let political colorations taint our positions on issues in the Nigerian society. We are, however, enjoined by good faith and our stated respect for the rule of law to condemn outright the Gestapo arrest and subsequent detention of Mr. Sowore. His late-night apprehension, in form and manner, is needless, ill-advised and a restraint against criticism.
No society is truly free if thoughts are regulated by its conformity or variance with government position. Mr. Sowere and his group are protected by the Nigerian Constitution to publicly decry government leadership provided same is done is done within the ambit of the law and natural civility. To attempt to label a protest which has yet been staged as an act of treason is to give it a bad name just to hang it. Such militant approach to free speech and gathering are not features of a democratic leadership and exposes Nigeria to international opprobrium as a dystopian society at odds with its own law.
In this instance, the Federal Government may want to heed the permissions that are built into Nigerians extant laws. No Nigerian citizens ought to live in fear of being raided and whisked away for daring to have an independent mind and differing perception of state policies.
We are properly appraised of insinuations that the #RevolutionIsNow movement is unconstitutional and perhaps, treasonable. Let it be stated that such a claim is a tall one that cannot be addressed without tact. The #RevolutionIsNow movement ought to be properly monitored until it becomes clear and unimpeachable acts show an attempt to create an alternative government or lead a coup against the existing one. Such, indeed, are the elements of a treason.
We would like to extend a word of caution to all conveners and participants such as #RevolutionIsNow. It is paramount that neither by words nor actions may such gatherings take on a militant posturing that draws security concerns or stoke civil unrest. All rights are only as absolute as they exist within the parameters of the law.
It is our hope that this matter will be resolved as amicably as the circumstance permits. The overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians must take center place and be the pivotal theme from which to draw resolutions for a better country. Constructive criticism is good criticism, de facto exercise of de jure powers are ultra vires ab intio.
All drums of war being beaten by aggrieved sympathizers or members of Mr. Sowore ‘s #RevolutionIsNow movement must be tempered in common sense and the exercise of disciplined action. Dialogue, not violent action, is the modern world’s tool for reconciliation and the achievement of set goals.
The United Global Resolve For Peace will continue to follow unfolding events with a mind to run interventions in the interest of peace and order where necessary and possible. Our commitment to peace, which translates to growth and development for Nigeria, is affirmed by our positive action and set objectives.
Executive Director, UGRFP