A presidential hopeful and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for a second term in office.
Mr Sowore stated this on Thursday in Abuja when he led his ‘Take It Back’ movement to protest for the release of Samuel Ogundipe, a journalist who was trickistly track down and detain by the Nigeria Police. The protest held at the entrance of the force headquarters.
Mr Ogundipe, who is a staffer of an online news medium, Premium Times, was taken into custody over a story he authored for the online portal on Tuesday.
The report published by various news portals, including HEADLINE borders on the findings of the police over the siege laid at the National Assembly last week.
The police are asking the Premium Times’ author to reveal his source of the information. He has since declined saying it was against the law of ethical journalism. On Wednesday the police arraigned the journalist without a legal representation on his part.
For Sowore, if Buhari decides not to listen to the advise given to him, the president will leave Nigerians with no option than to disgrace him at the poll.
He said he was involved in the protest to demand for the release of the detained journalist and to convey a message to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, that a new president would emerge in the 2019 general election who would not tolerate police excesses.
“That journalists cannot legitimately do their job in this country in 2018 is a disgrace,” the publisher said.
“We understand why, it was because this country made a mistake in 2015 to vote for somebody who does not believe in press freedom and even after his sick in London, he still doesn’t believe in press freedom.
“We have said it that if Buhari doesn’t leave Nigeria alone Nigerians will leave Buhari in 2019.
“But I am also here to send a memo to the police, that a new commander-in-chief is coming into town next year who would not longer tolerate police excesses.
“We are not going to tolerate the abuse of Human rights under our government and we are not going to tolerate an uncoordinated and incompetent police force without capacity to deal with simple matters such as understanding that a journalist has a right to publish a story and refuse to disclose his source wether he is detained, tortured or even at the point of dead.
“They people that they should be arresting are politicians but they are the ones that they are protecting.
“As we speak now an average Nigerian governor who is a major thief is protected by over 200 police men, yes that is the official number that we know. Some of them have Soldiers, Naval officers, they have civil defence they even have private militia,” he said.
Addressing the protesters, Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, seems not to under what a source of story meant.
“We are not saying tell us the source of your story, we are saying tell us where the document emanates from,” the image maker of the force said.
He accused the detained journalist of “theft of classified documents” used in writing the story.
Mr Moshood said Mr Ogundipe was arrested and arraigned in line with constitutional provision, insisting the police were committed to respect for the rule of law.
A number of groups, including Action Aid, Enough is Enough, Socialist Party of Nigeria, and Education Rights Campaign participated in the protest demanding the release of the journalist.