By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has petitioned the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the need to urgently intervene and put pressure on the Nigerian authorities and their agents to immediately end the intimidation and harassment of detained journalist and activist Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr Olawale Bakare, their sureties and lawyers, particularly, Femi Falana, SAN.
The organisation claimed that the sureties and Falana were being harassed simply for defending their clients’ rights.
According to the petition, dated November 22, 2019, by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare to Mrs Soyata Maiga, Chairperson of the Commission and members,
“Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) has stated that it would not release the activists until it is allowed to vet sureties that have already been verified by the court, implicitly harassing the sureties apparently with the aim of pushing them to disown the detained activists.
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“Similarly, a group of apparently sponsored protesters calling themselves ‘Save Nigeria Movement’ asked Femi Falana to ‘stop intimidating security agencies.
“The harassment of detained activists for demanding strict compliance with court orders, and then their sureties as well as lawyers who come to their defence, shows a steady slide away from the rule of law and underscores the urgent need for the Commission to insist on the restoration of respect for human rights in Nigeria.”