U.S lawmaker, Robert Menendez, on Friday condemned the harassment and rearrest of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, by officials of the State Security Service.
Robert Menendez said “We are watching and will be reviewing our relationship with the Nigeria government,” Menedez said at a press conference jointly addressed by Sowore’s wife Opeyemi in the US.
Menedez, a Democratic senator representing New Jersey, warned the Nigerian government that “(for) any harms that come to Sowore, there will be consequences.”
Recall that Operatives of the Department of Security Service (DSS) on Friday re-arrested Sowore barely 24hours after his release.
Sowore was released on Thursday night after the court gave Nigeria’s secret police a 24-hour ultimatum to release him.
The court also awarded N100,000 against the prosecution for failing to comply with court orders requesting the release of Sowore and for not serving the defence counsel with necessary documents early enough.
After the resumed hearing on Friday, there was a stampede in the courtroom by DSS operatives who cocked their guns to scare the judge, lawyers, journalists and other people away.
Sowore and his co-defendant Bakare were rearrested and returned to custody by Nigeria’s secret police.
Menedez described the incident as a “blatant miscarriage of justice” which is “symptomatic of closing political and media space in Nigeria.