An award billed to be presented to Nigeria’s vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who is a senior advocate of Nigeria, has been postponed by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism over the rearrest of Omoleye Sowore in the sanctuary of a court on Friday by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Mr. Motunrayo Alaka, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre, announced this is a statement on Monday, saying the decision was reached following the action of the DSS.
“The postponement was decided on, to align with protests against the repression of freedom of speech in recent times especially the incident between the Department of State Security (DSS) and Omoleye Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, on Friday 6 December. The Vice President himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point,” Alaka said.
The WSCIJ holds the award presentation event on December 9, the World Anti-Corruption Day and eve of the World Human Rights Day to highlight the importance of investigative reporting as a tool for accountability, good governance and social justice in a democracy.
WSCIJ had earlier said that it would present an ‘Integrity specialty of the anti-corruption defender award’ to the vice-president for his “invaluable work of overhauling the Lagos State Judiciary, facilitating far-reaching reforms in the administration of justice in the state, his work of promoting integrity in the civil society and business in Nigeria and his consistency as a strong voice for promoting integrity in the country.”
Mr. Osinbajo, a brilliant lawyer before joining politics, is still tight-lipped over Sowore’s travails, especially the refusal of the DSS to release him despite two court orders to that effect.
Sowore was on Friday rearrested at the Federal High Court Abuja barely 24 hours after the DSS were compelled to release him following a 24-hour ultimatum given by Justice Ojukwu.
He was first arrested on August 3 in Lagos for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand a better country from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the government accuses him of treason, money laundering among other things.