INDIGENOUS People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu has called on all his supporters to come to the rescue of Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore and Shiite leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who are facing persecution at the hands of the government.
Over the last week, the federal government has been involved in high profile clashes with critics after Mr Sowore was arrested on Saturday for planning a series of demonstrations under the theme #Revolution Now. Sheikh El-Zakzaky for his part, who has been in detention since 2015, won a court case on Monday whereby the government was ordered to release him on bail for medical treatment in India following the deterioration of his health.
In what political opponents are describing as the increasing paranoia of the government, there has been a clampdown on opposition movements and critics of late, for what are innocuous offences. On the other hand, government supporters have been left alone, including armed groups and politicians with corruption cases to answer.
Describing the action of the Buhari administration as hypocritical and double standards, Mr Kanu has attacked the president and the All Progressives Congress national leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He called on Yorubas in particular to rally behind Mr Sowore or he will rot in jail like former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki who has been held in detention since 2014 despite court orders demanding his release on bail.
Away in exile, Mr Kanu said he wondered why President Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu and others who led a protest against the government of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, would arrest Mr Sowore and his supporters. Himself, still being wanted by the Nigerian authorities, Mr Kanu met with Mr Sowore in New York last month, where they discussed the current state of affairs in Nigeria, recognising their differences and identifying areas where they could work together.
Mr Kanu said: “Below are your typical British created Nigerians, the worst set of people you could ever possibly encounter. Full of unbridled self-hate, stupendous ignorance, hypocrisy oozing from every pore in their decrepit body and filled with unimaginable wickedness.
“This same set of people now in Aso Rock and their media friends that came out on the street to march, protest and call for a revolution against President Jonathan in 2014 are today the same bunch of despicable reprobates against any form of lawful dissent, protest or revolution against their regime. This is not only laughable but an affront to decency, justice and fair play.
“Apparently, the occupants of Aso Rock are telling the world they can call for a revolution and street protest against a sitting president but nobody is allowed to protest against them. Pathetically, some of these poorly educated fellows from the presidency come on national television to shamelessly provide a flimsy defence of what is clearly indefensible.
“The same thing Buhari did in 2014 by openly calling for a revolution and organising nationwide street protests with the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu against the democratically elected government of Goodluck Jonathan is now a treasonable offence under their rule. Even going by the cringe-worthy standards of the most hopelessly backward banana republic on this earth, the detention of Sowore for doing exactly what late Buhari did is a new low for the zoo.
“Why didn’t Buhari, Abba Kyari, El-Rufai, Tinubu et al wait for the election of 2015 to remove Jonathan before embarking on their 2014 revolution as they are now sanctimoniously preaching? Why did they take to the streets in protest, an action they themselves openly tagged a revolution, before an election?
“The only language this Abba Kyari led Fulani jihad cabal in Aso Rock understand is consistent mass action and civil disobedience. Ipob has done and is still doing it and so too the Shiites.
“What the Yoruba nation and every conscientious person must do now is to rally round Omoyele Sowore to ensure his release or else he will be another Sambo Dasuki detained indefinitely with no constituency to mount pressure on his behalf as Ipob did in my case and the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria did for Sheikh El-Zakzaki. #RevolutionNow is a laudable initiative and must be commended by all lovers of freedom.
“What Sowore did in calling for a revolution in Nigeria is the highest form of bravery. Protests should continue and if need be intensified, especially in Yorubaland, until Omoyele Sowore is set free.”