New year, new ‘den’ for Sowore following #CrossoverWithProtest | The #YNaijaCover

“The year 2021 will indeed be a year where we will work to reinforce the hopes of fellow Nigerians in the vision of a united and progressive Nigeria. This administration would continue focusing on delivering key strategic priorities under our “SEA” – (Security, Economy and Anti-Corruption) Agenda.” 

Culled from President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year Day Address to Nigerians

Following the end of a near-traumatic year on Thursday, it would be safe to conclude that the hopes and expectations of Nigerians on the outlook of 2021 is at an all-time high.

Some feeling of hope is believed to also have somehow been rekindled Friday; with President Buhari’s mention of the work his administration would be embarking on this year to drive the vision of a “united and progressive Nigeria.” But it is common knowledge that any country intending to achieve real progress will prioritise the security of its citizens as well as put up a system to ensure that their inalienable rights are upheld.

This definitely is far from the case in Nigeria; as institutions of state continue to abuse the rights and dignity of the people it was elected to serve. Too many must have woken up today in astonishment; as to how the first day of the year had to be spent trending the #FreeSowore hashtag that greeted social media platforms all day. Familiar grounds. Yeah?

Same Sowore again?

Ran a very vibrant campaign in his quest for the office of the President early 2019. Arrested by the Buhari administration in 2019 and detained for over 100 days over his call for a #RevolutionNowProtest, the pro-democracy convener went through very difficult times. Only a few young Nigerians can claim not to have heard of Rights Activist, Omoyele Sowore, and all that he stands for.

Accused of planning to overthrow the Buhari-led government and being detained, despite being granted bail by the court, such harrowing experience orchestrated by the state against a law-abiding citizen remains dark times for governance in Nigeria. And so, to learn that the Nigerian police arrested him again for leading a protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja is definitely a ‘mood spoiler’ in a new year of ‘rekindled hope.’

Reports indicate that the Sahara Reporters Publisher and some other activists were indiscriminately whisked away by the Nigerian Police from the #CrossoverWithProtest ground at Gudu junction in Abuja, for holding a planned procession across the country on New Year eve. It is believed that he was taken to Abattoir police station in Logokoma, Abuja where he is currently being detained alongside others.

Not only must the concerned authorities release Sowore unconditionally, the time has come for this continuous and misguided opposition to legitimate and peaceful protests by agents of government to cease. We are either a democracy or not!

Additionally, the memories of the largely spontaneous #EndSARS protests and the role (open and perceived) of government in the whole saga is still fresh on the minds of many. Government at all levels need to see to it that citizens already living in apprehension over heightened insecurity; do not get agitated from acts of injustice. The outcome may not tell well on the health of the nation.

A stitch in time saves nine!

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