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Rights group flays alleged violent dispersing of protesters, reporters for Sowore’s release

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Protesters scatter as a demonstration calling for the release of activist and opposition politician Omoyele Sowore, facing treason charges over calls for a “revolution” against the government, is dispersed outside the Department of State Security headquarters in Abuja on November 12, 2019. – Sowore, who ran against Buhari in the February polls, has been held since August by the Department of State Services (DSS) secret police after urging protests under the online banner “#RevolutionNow”. In October, he and co-defendant Olawale Bakare were accused of “treasonable felony”, “cyberstalking” the president and money laundering, among other charges. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday allegedly opened fire to disperse protesters demanded the release of Omoyele Sowore.

They also assaulted journalists, The Guardian’s Oludare Richards, who were on ground to cover the protest.

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the “violent attacks on peaceful protesters demanding the release of Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare as ordered by the court as well as journalists covering the event.”

In a statement by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “We have seen video footage apparently showing the use of lethal and excessive force by Nigerian security agents against peaceful protesters demanding the release of Sowore and Bakare as ordered by the court. We condemn the ruthless violence and shocking abuses against protesters.”

The statement read in part: “@UNHumanRights @UN_SPExperts @davidakaye should urgently respond to the rule of law and rights crisis in Nigeria and call on the authorities to end this brutality. It is high time to ramp up monitoring on the situation in Nigeria and to send investigators to the country at once.

“The use of lethal and excessive force violates the very core of Nigeria’s constitution and international human rights obligations. This should end immediately, and those responsible should be held to account.”

“Nigerian authorities should immediately obey all court orders and specifically the court order for the release of Sowore and Bakare from arbitrary detention.”

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