Activist lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has expressed concern that one of the bail conditions imposed on detained publisher of the Sahara reporters, Omoyele Sowore, by the court is the type that would confine him to a specific part of the country even after meeting other conditions.
Falana said he could recall that the last time such restrictive condition was levied on someone, happened during the colonial era, citing activist trade unionist, late Pa Imodu whose movement was restricted to Auchi, Edo State, for three years by court order before he was eventually allowed to relocate to Lagos as an example.
The human rights lawyer who made this known in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, yesterday during the 2019 annual general conference of the Committee for Defence of Human Rights(CDHR), though, did not specify the form of restriction imposed on Sowore.
Falana who was the chief host of the conference themed: “Appraising Human Rights and Security for the Survival for Democracy in Nigeria,” called on the nation’s human rights groups to wake up, unite and return to the trenches to battle an emerging dictatorship in the country.
He also urged all activists and human right groups to reenact the same activism that saw the exit of military regime from power in the country, expressing the confidence that “no dictator can defeat the Nigerian people because a people united can never be defeated.”
He said: “I believe you are all aware of Omoyele Sowore, for those of you who are not lawyers, you may not understand the bail condition imposed on Sowore.
“The last time we have such bail condition was under the former colonial regime where people were reported and restricted to a particular part of the country.
“I can recall that of pa Imodu, he was restricted to Auchi area for three years before he could come back to Lagos, that is where we are.
“CDHR needs to get all other human right groups together, unite and do what we use to do during the military regime because no dictator can defeat the Nigerian people because a people united can never be defeated.”
Also speaking, the guest lecturer, Prof. Ibidapo Obe of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, identified right to privacy and right to self-determination as parts human rights guaranteed in the United Nations human rights charter.
Prof. Obe said it is the right of the separatist agitators to demand exit from any union they deemed unfair to them provided the quest for self-determination is carried out within the ambit of law and civility.
He equally decried the invasion of the privacy of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, by certain occupant of the Aso Rock whom he alleged videotaped her when she was reacting angrily to an unpleasant situation.
He lamented that the experience of Aisha Buhari gives the impression that Nigerians are living in a mass surveillance environment, saying the “right to privacy does not mean anything anymore” in the country.
One said:”The right to privacy is the right to privacy of your person and home. I was reading in the newspapers and I saw – ‘Aisha apologises to Nigerians over viral video’- ladies and gentlemen, that is the tip of the Iceberg, Aso Rock is under surveillance but not by people instructed to do so but by dark forces, shadow presidency. If Aishat Buhari’s privacy is not assured, how about you and me?
“We are living in a mass surveillance society, our right to privacy does not mean anything anymore.
“The Aishat situation is more of a symbol of a shadowing Presidency of a deep state. We all say SAI baba but baba is ruling but not in power, the people in power are the people giving our vice President a run for his money, trying to undermine him, create enmity.
“The other time I talked about shadow presidency, is that a transparent government? Some people are more powerful than the man we elected in government, the Dauras of this world.
“If somebody can take a phone and start taking the photograph of the first lady while the first lady is shouting, who then is more powerful? Is it the first lady that is shouting in agony or the person taking pictures to put on internet to make it go viral ? That is the most treasonable act that I have even seen.
“The first lady has apologised and we accept her apology because the rich also cry, Aishat is crying now and we must support and fight for her.”