As a way of protesting against the current repression of freedom of speech in Nigeria, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism has announced that it would postpone the scheduled award for Nigerian Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
The centre shares the same concern as many critics across the world on why the country’s Vice President, despite being a Professor of Law will remain quiet while his government represses freedom of speech and the abuse rule of law.
The centre decided to reconsider the award following the treatment of Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate at the last general elections.
According to Motunrayo Alaka, the centre’s director, on Monday, the postponement was in protest against the repression of freedom of speech in recent times.
“The postponement was decided on, to align with protests against the repression of #FreedomOfSpeech in recent times, especially the incidence between the Department of State Security (DSS) and @YeleSowore, Publisher of @SaharaReporters, on Friday, December 6. #WSAIR2019,” the tweet announcing the postponement read.
The centre said, “the Vice President himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point.”
Critics have continued to question the body language of Mr Osinbajo and six other lawyers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet despite the continuous acts of human rights violations carried out by the current government.
Apart from being a professor of Law, Mr Osinbajo is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria; it is on this premise that critics have questioned his silence on the issues of freedom of speech repression and human rights violations.
Mr Sowore is facing a seven-count charge of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Buhari.
On different occasions, the court had ruled that the duo be granted bail, but the SSS operatives failed to obey the court orders.
Mr Sowore, who was arrested on August 3 by the SSS for planning a protest popularised with the hashtag #RevolutionNow, was granted bail for the second time on October 18.
Yet the executive controlled security arm, known as the State Security Service (SSS) has refused to grant the accused bail.
Interestingly, Mr Sowore was released Thursday night last week but rearrested on Friday morning.
Media agencies in the country reported how armed SSS officials stormed the premises of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to rearrest Mr Sowore forcefully.
In its defence, the presidency has issued a statement saying that Mr Sowore is being treated as such because he is a suspected terrorist.
What are your thoughts, do you think the Vice President deserves the award?
Header Image Credit: Guardian