A group, Pan-Afrikan Consciousness Renaissance, has called for support in Africa to condemn President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for illegally arresting and detaining human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and others on New Year’s Eve.
Security operatives from Rapid Response Squad stormed Gudu junction in Abuja to arrest Sowore, Juwon Sanyaolu, Damilare Michael, and Kimrere, where they were having a peaceful procession.
In a statement released on Monday, Co-Convener of PACOR, Temitope Maberu Fagunwa, stated that the Nigerian government has been mischievously clamping down on opposition voices and peaceful gatherings that are against the excesses of the Buhari-administration.
“The Pan-Afrikan Consciousness Renaissance reaffirms that the regime of Maj. Gen. Buhari (retd) is grievously dictatorial, callous and anti-democratic. Irrespective of the sheer failure to guarantee the Nigerian people the protection and safety of their lives and property, this regime has been resolute in clamping down on dissent voices and peaceful gatherings.
“Not only have protests been erroneously outlawed, journalists, activists, writers, academics, etc. have been illegally hounded, harassed, beaten, maltreated, arrested, etc. in the country.
“A recent manifestation of the brutality of the Maj. Gen. Buhari (retd) regime surfaced on the night of 31st of December, 2020 when renowned activist, Omoyele Sowore, and some other activists were illegally and violently whisked away by members of the Nigeria Police Force at Gudu junction, Abuja, for participating in a peaceful and democratic demonstration.
“Pertinent to mention that days after the arrest, the police eventually reported that the activists violated the COVID-19 safety protocols. This accusation is however laughable and witless. Online images showed that the activists were not only few in number, they also had their face masks on. Beyond this nebulous accusation, it appears that the activists are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19 than the thousands of Christian faithful that gathered on the same day in their distinct churches in Abuja and across the country for the ‘crossover’ service.
“Concretely, the activists were not attacked and arrested by the Nigeria Police Force consequent to a presumed violation of COVID-19 safety measures. The activists were arrested clearly because of the anti-democratic tendencies of the Buhari government. The repressive posture of the government is indeed a strong indication that it is in a more terrific condition. This is also an indication that this regime has no intention of putting an end to police brutality.”
Fagunwa cried out to Africans that there was an urgent need for them to rise against all forms of oppressive and repressive governments like that of Buhari in Nigeria.
“Overall, these backward happenings confirm the correctness of our hitherto position that this regime, and in fact every other regime on the continent that is driven by neoliberal-capitalist agenda, can never protect and defend the interests of African working people.
“We are thus calling on revolutionary organisations across the continent, organised labour movements, human rights movements, revolutionary academics, etc. to raise their voices in condemnation of the ongoing brutality of the Buhari regime. We are calling for a continental demand for the immediate release of Sowore and other activists in detention in neocolonial Nigeria as a matter of urgency.
“It is important to stress that because of the supposed leadership role the country dubiously appears to be playing on the continent, several other repressive African governments, like (Yoweri) Museveni-led Uganda, are further emboldened by the maladministration and repression of the Buhari regime. Hence a continental exposure of the rottenness of the dictatorial regime in Nigeria, and other regimes, is indeed a lifeline to a free and humane Africa of our aspirations.”