Despite maintaining public silence over the illegal detention of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for about four years, the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has found his voice in praising President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering his release.
He described the president as “an apostle of the rule of law.”
The governor, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, also did not publicly speak against the illegal incarceration of the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, but has also joined the throng of well-wishers to laud his release from the detention of the State Security Services.
Mr Dasuki is standing trial over allegations of fraud while he was the National Security Adviser under Goodluck Jonathan.
He was first arraigned in November 2015 and held in detention despite several court orders granting him bail.
Mr Sowore was arrested and detained by the SSS for allegedly calling for a revolution. He was also refused freedom despite an order of the court granting bail.
Both men’s detention despite being granted bail was condemned by many Nigerians, civic groups and the international community.
Both men are believed to have been detained at the request of Mr Buhari who in the past justified his government’s refusal to release Mr Dasuki despite being granted bail
However, Mr Fayemi said President Buhari’s intervention had again confirmed that he was a stickler to “due process and an apostle of the rule of law.”
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, on Tuesday, Mr Fayemi described the president’s gesture, which came on the Christmas eve, as a good Christmas gift to the duo, their families and associates as well as a soothing balm for the country.
“Again, the President has demonstrated that he is the father of the nation through his intervention that led to the release from detention of the two prominent citizens,” he said.
The governor, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said he was particularly happy that the two prominent citizens regained their freedom, while hearing in their cases continued. This, he said should be the norm.
“The President, by this intervention, has reinforced the fact that nobody is deemed guilty of an offence until pronounced guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction,” Mr Fayemi added.
“This is good for the country. We congratulate Col Dasuki and Sowore and salute the President for the fatherly gesture.”
Their release on Tuesday by the orders of the president only came after a damning report by the United States of Nigeria’s human rights records.
The U.S. government has added Nigeria to a “Special Watch List (SWL)” of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”
This is coming at a time many Nigerians and the international community have criticised the Nigerian government for its serial violations of court orders and the shrinking civic and media space in the country.