Sowore pleads not guilty in Nigerian court


Nigerian activist and former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore pleaded not guilty at an Abuja court to charges of treason, money laundering and harassing the president.

State Security Service agents arrested Sowore in August after he called for a revolution following a February election he said was not credible. He ran for president in the election, which saw former military ruler President Muhammadu Buhari secure a second term.

Buhari faced criticism for his administration’s human rights record particularly a deadly crackdown on members of a now-banned Shi’ite group a United Nations special rapporteur said involved excessive use of lethal force. Government rejects criticism of its human rights record.

Sowore, who founded Nigerian online news organisation Sahara Reporters, faces seven charges including treason, money laundering and “cyberstalking” for allegedly sharing false information about Buhari that insulted and incited hatred against him.

A court last week denied a request by state security to keep Sowore in detention pending the charges, but did not release him as ordered.

Last week, another federal court in Abuja threatened the head of the State Security Service with prison for contempt of court for the failure to release him. Sowore remained in detention despite the threat.

The judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, adjourned the case until October 4.