Nigerian senator warns against shielding coup plotters

Veteran of struggle for democracy says West should not protect 'dark forces' behind Turkish coup bid

Nigerian senator warns against shielding coup plotters

World Bulletin / News Desk

A senior Nigerian lawmaker who was once imprisoned for pro-democracy activism on Wednesday urged the West not to shield the “enemies of democracy” involved in Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt.

Shehu Sani, vice chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs said that those behind the attempt to overthrow Turkey’s government “represent the dark forces against democracy, freedom and fundamental rights. The coup plotters are dark agents with evil intentions.”

The senator, who was jailed during Nigeria’s period of military dictatorship in the 1990s, called on Africans to stand by democracy in Turkey.

“The resistance, courage and the democratic spirit demonstrated by the Turkish people in foiling the coup is an inspiration for the people of the world,” he said.

“I salute the people of Turkey and the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the bravery, valor and strength of spirit in defending democracy. The people of Turkey have proven to the world their unwavering resolve and determination to defend their freedom.”

Sani, a member of the All Progressives Congress and a playwright and author, said the coup plotters should not be given refuge by democratic governments.

“I call on the international community, particularly the West, to cooperate with the government and the people of Turkey to prosecute those behind the failed coup,” he said.

“No coup plotters or their financiers should seek shelter in free society and no free society should give shelter to the enemies of democracy. Africa must stand by democracy in Turkey.”

Sani was a leading figure during Nigeria’s struggle against military rule and was repeatedly imprisoned for organizing pro-democracy protests, including a life sentence in 1995 that was later commuted to 15 years.

Since he was freed in 1999 following the restoration of democracy he has been a prominent campaigner on issues such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Meanwhile, more than 20 NGOs in South Africa, including the Jamiatul Ulama and the Yunus Emre Institute, joined Turkish ex-pats Wednesday in denouncing the coup attempt.

“As representatives of NGOs operating in South Africa, we stand resolutely against any kind of unlawful interference against the elected government in Turkey,” they said in a statement. “We do not accept another option than the democratic choice of the Turkish nation.”

They called for a “strong message” from the courts that “undemocratic actions will not be tolerated”.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2016, 14:27