The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded the release of Omoyele Sowore, ex-presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), and 26 other persons arrested on account of the #RevolutionNow protest.
The Department of State Services (DSS) arrested Sowore over his call for a protest against bad governance in Nigeria.
Some Nigerians, who had converged on public places on Monday to stage protests and demand the release of Sowore, were also arrested by the police. 26 of them have been arraigned.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Peter Ozo-Eson, NLC general secretary, said the labour union views the attack on protesters by security agents as a violation of their rights.
It said the detention of Sowore “lacks any justification” because his actions were not a threat to the sovereignty of the country.
“It is with deep consternation that we view the attacks and arrests of peaceful protesters in some parts of the country by security agencies and military personnel on Monday during a protest by some Nigerians in Lagos, Osogbo, Ibadan, Abuja and other cities,” he said.
“There is nowhere in our constitution or laws that the security agencies are empowered to so brazenly attack peaceful protests and hound its organisers into detention as the right to peaceful protests, assembly and association is fully guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under sections 39 and 40.
“We view the violent attack on the peaceful protesters by security forces as a total violation of the fundamental rights of not just the protesters but all Nigerian citizens as guaranteed by the constitution as well as various reported judgements of our courts.
“Besides, peaceful protests against bad governance or perceived anti-people government policies is one of the critical fundamental rights that expands the entrenchment and growth of democracy and our security agencies must not be allowed to continue to portray themselves as anti-democracy forces as the Monday attacks so clearly demonstrated.
“We also view the midnight arrest of one of the organisers of the protests, Omoyele Sowore as an affront on his fundamental rights as well as our collective rights to freedom of expression and association as enshrined in all the international and national instruments that strengthen democracy.
“His continued detention by the State Security Service lacks any justification as his actions were not in any way threats to the sovereignty of Nigeria nor the democratically constituted government of Nigeria.
“He was just one out of several Nigerians demanding for good governance being the minimum demand citizens can make from a government they democratically elected.
“We, therefore, demand their immediate release unconditionally.”