Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Omoyele Sowore. Image from Naija News.

Nearly two months after the arrest of Sahara Reporters publisher and 2019 Nigerian presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore on 3 August 2019, the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered his immediate release, following the conclusion of investigation into his #RevolutionNow movement. The 24 September decision, reports Premium Times, stated, in the paper’s wording, that “there was no extant order allowing Mr Sowore’s further detention by the State Security Service.” Sowore, who is represented by the legal powerhouse Femi Falana, was also ordered to deposit his international passport within 48 hours.

“The order of the court has expired,” stated the judge Taiwo Taiwo. “It has not been renewed and cannot be renewed in view of the motion ex-parte earlier withdrawn. The liberty of all Nigerians high or low, poor or rich, is guaranteed by the constitution. It’s for this end that I’m of the view that the defendant ought to be released forthwith.”

Sowore’s detention was widely condemned by Nigerians, including Wole Soyinka, who issued a statement. “Beyond the word ‘revolution,’ another much mis-used and misunderstood word, nothing that Sowore has uttered, written, or advocated suggests that he is embarking on, or urging the public to engage in a forceful overthrow of government,” Soyinka said. “We underwent identical cynical contrivances under the late, unlamented Sani Abacha, when he sent storm-troopers to disrupt a planning session for a similar across-nation march at Tai Solarin School, Ikenne.”

In response, the Federal Government had accused Soyinka of “blackmail.” “You mentioned the name of Professor Wole Soyinka. Some of these critics of government are people whom we have great respect and admiration for,” stated President Buhari’s spokesperson Garba Shehu. “This is an unpardonable blackmail that cannot stop Police and other law enforcement agencies from doing their work.”

English PEN has since released a statement in support of Sowore.

It remains to be seen—and how did this even become an issue in a democracy?—whether the Federal Government will comply.

Tags: , , ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Tell Me | Oreva-Oghene Isaac Oyibojabor | Poetry

Tell Me _ Oreva-Oghene Isaac Oyibojabor _ Fiction (1)

  I slipped through today. When it gets hard, remind me it’s not suicidal to live. Tell me of hope, […]

Broken | Gerald Onyebuchi | Fiction

Broken _ Gerald Onyebuchi _ Fiction (1)

In the cool of the evening you met him. At a pub, a corner all by himself, gulping down shots […]

Nigerian Software Engineer Invents New Igbo Writing System

Nigerian Software Engineer Invents New Igbo Writing System

Lotanna Igwe-Odunze is a software engineer, artist and writer who developed a new system for Igbo writing called the Ńdébé […]

All About Nsah Mala’s Cameroonian Children’s Book Coming Out in Spring 2021

Nsah Mala's children's book

A US publishing house for children’s literature POW! Kids Books has acquired worldwide rights, excluding Africa, to Cameroonian poet and […]

The Dissolving Center of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart? — Watch Episode 4 of Prof. Ato Quayson’s Vlog

Episode 4 of Prof. Ato Quayson's Vlog

The fourth episode of Professor Ato Quayson’s vlog Critic.Reading.Writing is up! In this week’s episode, the Professor dives into the […]

Namwali Serpell to Join Harvard English Department as Full Professor

Namwali serpell harvard university

  Namwali Serpell announced on Twitter this week that she will be joining the Harvard English Department as Full Professor […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.