By Bimbo Ogunnaike
Amnesty International has criticised the Federal Government over the seven-count charge of treasonable felony and money laundering it instituted against detained activist and Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore, a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election was charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.
The charges were signed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), by Aminu Alilu, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.
In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.
It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Reacting, Amnesty international in a post on its verified Twitter page condemned the charges.
The global rights human organization described the charges against Sowore “as an attempt by the Nigerian authorities to deprive Sowore of his human rights
“Amnesty International condemns the bizarre charges pressed on activist Omoyele Sowore for expressing his views in media interviews. The trumped up charges he is facing show an attempt by the Nigerian authorities to deprive him of his human rights; Omoyele Sowore continued incarceration on application of the Terrorism Act for exercising his right to freedom of expression is a misuse of the criminal system to silence dissent,”the post reads.
“We call on the Nigerian authorities to respect and protect human rights of all persons without discrimination and ensure that it does not use its laws to justify violations of Omoyele Sowore human rights.”