The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism said it has postponed the presentation of award to the Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The was revealed in a statement by the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Centre, Motunrayo Alaska, on Monday.
The centre had earlier announced that it would honour Osinbajo with its Anti-Corruption Defender Award.
According to the WSCIJ, Osinbajo was to be honoured “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”.
However, the rearrest of pro-democracy campaigner and journalist, Omoyele Sowore, by the Department of State Services on Friday in Abuja has angered Nigerians, who have asked that Osinbajo be withdrawn from the ceremony.
Hassan-Taiwo Adebayo, a senior journalist with Premium Times, expressed displeasure over the Vice President’s refusal to speak against the invasion of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu’s court by operatives of the DSS in trying to rearrest Sowore.
In a post on Twitter, Adebayo said, “Quite concerned the WS Centre will be bestowing this honour on @ProfOsinbajo at this time when the government he serves as number two is not pretending about its low tolerance for an open society.”
Another journalist, Patrick Egwu, said, “Will @WSoyinkaCentre still go out to honour @ProfOsinbajo with human rights and integrity awards on December 9 despite Osibanjo’s silence on the recent desecration of the judiciary by state agents and the gross abuse of human rights of @YeleSowore?”
The centre has now said it would be postponing honouring Osinbajo “to align with protests against the repression of #FreedomOfSpeech in recent times, especially the incidence between the Department of State Security and @YeleSowore, Publisher of @SaharaReporters, on Friday 6 December.”
The awards ceremony holds on Monday (today) in Lagos and Osinbajo is not expected to attend.
Sowore was on Friday rearrested in the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja barely 24 hours after the secret police were forced to release him upon a 24-hour ultimatum given by Justice Ojukwu.
The journalist 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.
The Nigerian Government is accusing him of insulting President Buhari and planning to bring down his regime.
But, despite two previous court orders granting him bail, the DSS has refused to comply with those directives and continued to detain Sowore.
The journalist has now spent 128 days in detention.