Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) has condemned the clampdown on demonstrators across the country, saying that the action was portraying the government in a bad light.
The group also accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of turning Mr Omoyele Sowore and other members of the RevolutionNow group as heroes through their illegal detention and intimidation by security agencies.
Founder of IYM and Deputy General Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu – Uko, made this known on Tuesday in a statement in Enugu.
Uko said that it was surprising that the current leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), organized “Occupy Nigeria,” during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan about seven years ago without any harassment by the then government, wondering why the regime has now become intolerant of opposition.
The IYM leader, who is also the Secretary-General of Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) warned that it was unhealthy to arrest and detain Sowore and called for his immediate release.
The statement reads: “The arrest and detention of Omoyele Sowore is bad news for the political health and image of Nigeria. The clampdown on the demonstrators makes it difficult for the government to continue pretending it respects the democratic rights of her citizens. The international community could not have forgotten the leaders of the Occupy Nigeria demonstration that shot down Lagos and Abuja, seven years ago.
“The world also noted, that President Goodluck Jonathan did not accuse the demonstrators of plotting to overthrow his Government.
“The world, therefore, wonders how and why the people who organized several high profile demonstrations against Jonathan’s government seven, six and five years ago, have suddenly become intolerant of opposition voices today, simply because they are now in government and therefore at the receiving end today.
“It is truly surprising, how government believes that clampdown and intimidation will ultimately resolve Nigeria’s governance, political, and structural issues that have only increased the number of the disgruntled and disappointed populace in recent time.
‘This clampdown tactics deepened the secessionist agitations, popularised the Shite movement and created allies for them all over Nigeria today. This same clampdown tactics deployed once again, in a bid to avoid the necessary, unavoidable and inevitable conversation towards a new constitution and a new structure, will only turn the leaders and organizers of this demonstration, heroes and celebrities.
“Government should release Sowore and his colleagues and engage them without further delay. The tension in the land today demands truthfulness on the part of the government and eminent leaders of Nigeria.
“Are there still intelligible reasons and excuses why the whole country should continue to pretend we can still drag on the way we are going today? Frightening broad day killings of priests and kidnapping of citizens simultaneously going on all over the country, demonstrators being shot and manhandled in videos trending in social media, political, ethnic and religious divisions getting deeper by the day. Add these to the unemployment, hunger and frustration in the land, it becomes incomprehensible how any sensible leader could still continue to pretend that all is well.
“Nigeria is clearly at crossroads, eminent elders and leaders from the six geopolitical zones should as a matter of urgency, raise a committee of prominent, capable and patriotic leaders to begin the inevitable process to reinvent, reconcile,rejuvenate and recreate our country through the adoption at a referendum, a new people’s constitution, that would enshrine true federalism and devolution of power in our national life once again. “The game of trying to avoid the truth and pretending this military constitution will make Nigeria great by and by has become offensive.”