News Brief

Nigerian Activist Omoyele Sowore Remains In Custody Following Planned #RevolutionNow Protests

The founder of Sahara Reporters and 2019 presidential candidate, is being held under terrorism laws after attempting to organize a nationwide protest against insecurity.

Nigerian journalist, activist and politician Omoyele Sowore was arrested on Sunday for his efforts to lead a nationwide "Revolution Now" protest and is currently being held under terrorism laws, BBC Africa reports.

The peaceful protests were set to take place across 21 Nigerian cities on Monday. Several Nigerians were set to take to the streets to demand an end to widespread insecurity in the country, and push for free education and healthcare for all Nigerian citizens. Some organizers attempted to go ahead with the protests on Monday to little success. Those who did attempt to organize faced small run-ins with police.

Sowore remains in custody, after being accused of "calling for an overthrow of the Nigerian government," by organizing the protest. Though he should have been charged within 48-hours of being taken into custody, according to Nigerian law, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruled that Sowore could be detained under terrorism laws, following a request from the Department of State Services (DSS) to hold him for further investigation. "The nature of offence of terrorism which involved the use of force, is a clear affront to the peace of the society," said the justice of his decision.


Sowore is the founder of popular Nigerian news site Sahara Reporters. He ran against President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria's presidential election earlier this year. He ran under the Africa Action Congress party, and finished 10th out of about 70 candidates who were on the ballot.

"All that is needed for a #Revolution is for the oppressed to choose a date they desire for liberty," wrote Sowore on Twitter just two days before his arrest."Not subjected to the approval of the oppressor. #RevolutionNow #DaysofRage #August5."

Since his detainment, several Nigerians including Wole Soyinka have called for his immediate release, as noted in Brittle Paper. Some activists say that they will go ahead with protests despite growing threats from the Nigerian government.

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

[Op-Ed] Speeka: “‘Dankie San’ brought me closer to kasi rap”

A personal reflection on one of South Africa's most influential hip-hop albums, 'Dankie San' by PRO.