CIVIL society groups have stormed the UK and US diplomatic missions in Abuja asking the two governments to place a visa ban on the attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami and Yusuf Bichi the head of the Department for State Security (DSS).
Sowore, 47, was released on bail last Thursday after spending 125 days in detention when the DSS was forced to obey a court order granting him bail. Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu of the federal high court in Abuja had fined the DSS N100,000 for not obeying her order to release Sowore despite him meeting all the bail conditions.
Left with no other option, the DSS let Sowore go but on Friday, when he appeared in court as the substantive hearing continued, the security men were waiting for him. Heavily-armed DSS operatives disrupted the court proceedings, drove away Mr Sowore’s lawyer Femi Falana and chased Justice Ojukwu out of the courtroom at gun point.
Incensed at the impunity of the DSS and the manner in which its operatives stormed a courtroom, human rights activists have been calling for the immediate sacking of its director-general Mr Bichi. This morning, human rights activist Adebayo Raphael, said Messrs Bichi and Malami desecrated the sanctity of the courts by sending DSS operatives to invade the federal high court in Abuja, last Friday.
He added that a visa ban in both men was necessary as they undermined Nigeria’s democracy and disobeyed court orders. Already, there have been calls for international sanctions against Nigeria over the matter.
Mr Raphael said: “We believe that the United States can still do more considering its strategic role in Nigeria’s democracy. It needs to ensure that democracy is not undermined in Nigeria by anti-democratic and fascistic elements within the country.
“We, therefore request in the best interest of Nigeria’s democracy, that a visa ban be imposed on the director-general of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi and his immediate family for undermining Nigeria’s democracy. We also request that a visa ban be imposed on the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice in Nigeria, Abubakar Malami and his immediate family considering his eerily suspicious silence in the face of the desecration of rule of law and violation of human rights by the DSS in Nigeria.
“The countries should also impose as many other sanctions as deemed necessary on Nigeria to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law and human rights in the nation.”