Shehu Sani, a former senator, says the federal government should be able to engage dissenting voices if it can sit to have coffee with bandits in search of peace.
Sani made this statement on Saturday in reaction to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 elections.
Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) had arrested Sowore in the early hours of Saturday.
“The arrest of Omoyele Sowore stands unreservedly condemned,” he said.
“Our Democracy has become a block of ice floating on warm waters. We are leapfrogging into totalitarianism.
“A nation that can sit and have a cup of coffee with bandits in the search for peace should not find it difficult to engage dissenting voices.
“It’s ironic for our nation to walk in the sun and be allergic to shadows. The voices of dissent are the heartbeats of democracy.
“Let not our prisons not be filled with those that speak but with those that kill.”
Sowore’s arrest on Saturday is suspected to be connected to #RevolutionNow, a movement planning to protest “against bad governance” in Nigeria.
The protests are scheduled to begin on Monday, August 5.
Sani accused the ruling elite of becoming intolerant of truths that had once served as the “moral chariots that validated their ascension to power”.
He said Nigeria’s democracy will remain questionable until citizens “learn to tolerate things that are legal within the ambit of the law but unpleasant to our ears”.
“The Government should defeat Sowore by by beaming a bigger light than his and not by switching off his rays.
“Sowore should be released.”