The European Union (EU) has faulted the arrest and detention of the convener of the RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, saying that peaceful protests remain a cardinal part of democracy.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen who stated this while responding to questions from journalists in Abuja on Thursday however said it was not the job of the Union to tell Nigeria how to conduct its internal affairs.
He said the country’s judiciary should be allowed to do its job without interference, disclosing that he was not aware of any petition sent to the EU by rights groups over the clampdown on protesters. His words:
“The European Union stands firm on the principles of freedom of speech and our fundamental values. Of course, it is important in any democratic society for people to be able to participate.
“I am not aware of any petition following the latest events in Nigeria but what I can say is that as long as people seek peaceful means to demonstrate and voice their political opinion, this is what we see as a natural part of a thriving democracy.
“Of course, any democracy or any society in the world must jealously guard and make sure that such pronouncements are always non-violent and that they respect the fundamental rules of the game and democracy at the end of the day.
“And it is for the Nigerian justice system, in the end, to follow up on specific cases and as long as these cases are being dealt with in the Nigerian justice system, it is not for the EU or the EU ambassador to judge what is right or wrong in these occasions but of course we always follow very carefully when there are dissenting voices in the countries where we operate and we listen very carefully to all of them.”