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Omoyele Sowore

The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has criticized the Federal Government for arresting the Convener of the ‘Revolution Now’ movement, Omoyele Sowore, and other Nigerians for demonstrating their disaffection with the state of affairs in the nation.

In a statement by its National Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, the Niger-Delta group said rather than the militaristic approach to the complaints of the people, the federal government should address the issues they have raised.

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The statement reads, “PANDEF calls for the immediate release of Mr. Omoyele Sowore and all those Nigerians who may have been arrested in course of peacefully demonstrating their disaffection at the state of affairs of the nation.

“The Federal Government ought to note the issues highlighted by the RevolutionNow protestations and take needed actions to address the hardship in the country, rather than cracking down on citizens for exercising their rights to speech, association, and assembly.

“The PANDEF strongly condemns the arrest of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, by the Department of State Service (DSS) for his active role in the planned nationwide march to demand decisive actions, from the government, on the nation’s security, economic, educational and healthcare challenges.

“PANDEF equally condemns actions of the Nigerian Police Force for describing the planned protests as treasonable felony and acts of terrorism. If we may ask, how can protest against insecurity, suffering, and hardship in the country occasioned by misrule, amount to a treasonable felony?

“Meanwhile, those who are actually threatening the unity and stability of the country by killing and maiming innocent Nigerians daily, are freely moving around in the country.

“It is disconcerting that the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is increasingly becoming intolerant of criticism and contrary opinions and undemocratic in its actions.

“The fundamental human rights of association and expression of views are protected and guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution provides among other things that every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his or her interests.

“We would, therefore, call on the APC- led federal government and agencies of government to demonstrate greater respect for the nation’s constitution and its provisions, particularly those concerning fundamental rights such as right to life, right to dignity of the human person, right to personal liberty, right to freedom of expression, right to peaceful assembly and association.”