Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has “strongly
condemned the violent re-arrest today of Omoyele Sowore and his
co-defendant, Olawale Bakare by officials of the State Security Service
(SSS), and the apparent harassment and intimidation of Justice Ijeoma

Armed SSS officials reportedly stormed the courtroom, causing
pandemonium at the court and physically assaulting Mr Sowore. The judge
reportedly had to take cover. She had earlier ordered the SSS to release
Sowore within 24 hours and also pay him N100,000 for improper legal
conduct. The SSS then released Mr Sowore only for him and his
co-defendant to be violently re-arrested.

Reacting, SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said: “The appalling
invasion of the courtroom and the ill-treatment of Sowore and Bakare is
a blatant attack on the rule of law and the sanctity and integrity of
our justice system. An independent judiciary, free from intimidation and
harassment is a basic precondition to a functioning democracy under the
rule of law.”

SERAP’s statement read in part: “The violent re-arrest of Sowore and
Bakare right inside the courtroom is a textbook case of a mockery of
justice and abuse of the judicial process. It drives home the failure of
the Nigerian government to fulfill its constitutional and international
human rights obligations to respect citizens’ human rights and observe
the rule of law.”

“What happened in the courtroom is a fatal blow to human rights and the
independence and integrity of the judiciary. SERAP is seriously
concerned that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is not
observing fundamental international human rights and due process

“We urge the Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally
release Sowore and Bakare and end the fragrant attack on the rule of
law. “If Nigerian authorities are serious about human rights and the
rule of law, they should hold those responsible to account. Only then
will Nigerians have full confidence in this government’s ability to
protect their human rights, obey the rule of law and the independence of
the judiciary.”

“The United Nations Human Rights Council, African Commission on Human
and Peoples’ Rights and members of the international community should
urgently put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to end serious
violations and abuses of human rights and threats to the rule of law in