America’s decorated activist warns against rising intolerance in Nigeria Updated for 2021


Updated: March 2, 2021

WASHINGTON (TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA) – A Nigerian activist who received an International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State in 2013 has warned against a “fledging culture of intolerance” crystallizing in Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Josephine Obiajulu Okei-Odumakin popularly known as Joe Odumakin received her award from former First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry at the US State Department’s Dean Acheson Auditorium in celebration of International Women’s Day.

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Dr. Joe Odumakin, the human rights activist and President of Centre for Change, was reacting to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, a New York-based Nigerian activist, publisher and the 2019 presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC).

Omoyele Sowore

Mr. Sowore was arrested by the men of the secret police or DSS, two days to the August 5, 2019, planned protests to demand a revolution in Nigeria.

In a statement on Saturday, Dr. Odumakin said the arrest of Sowore was “uncalled for”.

She said calling a protest “cannot be a crime under any law to warrant anticipatory arrest”.

“The attention of the Centre for Change has been drawn to the arrest of Mr Omoyele Sowore by men of DSS.The arrest coming ahead of the Monday protest he and others are spearheading suggests a fleding culture of intolerance that may be gripping the country,” she said.

“Except he has committed any other offence that we are not aware of ,calling a protest cannot be a crime under any law to warrant anticipatory arrest as has been done .We demand immediate release of the activist whom we declare a prisoner of conscience for every minute he is held.We advise the government to temper its mood as this is a democracy and not military rule”


Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on



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