By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
Widow of late Afenifere leader, Yinka Odumakin, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, yesterday took a moment off her self-imposed three-month mourning period to react to the worsening insecurity situation in the country, particularly in the wake of the reported attack on Omoyele Sowore by operatives of the Nigerian Police.
Vanguard reports that Omoyele and other activists were on a peaceful demonstration at the popular Unity Fountain, Abuja when he collapsed to the ground in what appeared a shot to his lower abdomen from a tear gas canister.
In a statement issued Monday, the widow lamented what she called the gradual drift to dictatorship in the land, saying “this is unacceptable! Nigeria is a democratic country under the law and not a dictatorship or banana republic.”
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She continued: “Freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of movement are some of the fundamental human rights granted to Nigerian citizens by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“The widely-expressed flaws of this constitution notwithstanding, it still charges journalists to hold the government accountable to the people.
“It accords the people the right of peaceful protest, especially when drawing government officials’ attention to their failings and the expectations of citizens from them, which is legitimate.
“We, therefore, condemn the shooting of Sowore as barbaric and an infringement of his rights under the law.
“These rights include the right to life, which is basic and which no government or its agents can breach in a whimsical way.
“We ask the federal authorities to call the police to order, fish out the culprits, and bring them to trial. The country is on tenterhooks already and nothing must be done by the authorities to heat up the polity further. We demand prompt and effective treatment of Sowore and any of his colleagues wounded in the unprovoked assault by the police.
“All men and women of goodwill must condemn this assault and hold the government accountable.
“Patriotic Nigerians committed to securing a better future for our country must not be deterred by this dastardly act aimed at intimidating them but must redouble their efforts and forge ahead until victory is won. Nigeria shall be free! And the people shall rejoice,” the statement read.