As a last-ditch attempt, pro-democracy activist, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, has refused to eat any food to protest over his continued detention by the Department of State Services (DSS) despite a court order authorizing his immediate release.
Sowore, who had been granted bail twice by the Federal High Court in Abuja has been in DSS custody for 98 days. Following the court ruling on Wednesday, Sowore has since met his bail conditions, but the DSS will not release him.
On Thursday morning, the DSS was served with the latest ruling by the court’s bailiff and counsels to Sowore. Though the Agency had acknowledged the receipt of the document mandating it to release him, it has refused to obey the directive, making it the second time in one month.
According to Human Rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) who has been defending Sowore in court “Since yesterday (Thursday) he has refused to come down. He has refused to see anybody and this is in protest that his rights are being violated.
“He has not eaten because the DSS don’t feed him and he is rejecting food from the people who usually take food to him in detention.
“Yesterday, he said he didn’t want to see anyone including the people who take food to him because there is a court order asking for him to be released, the second one, so he is protesting this,” Falana told SaharaReporters.com Friday.
Recall Sowore, who was the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress during the 2019 election was arrested by the secret police in the early hours of August 3, 2019 in a gestapo manner for mobilising Nigerians to throng the streets in demand for accountability and good governance in the country.
Sowore continuous detention against several court orders asking the DSS to release him has been fueling international concerns bordering on the Nigerian government’s adherence to the rule of law practice and the upholding of citizen’s human rights under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Only last week, Ms. Karen Bass, a member of the United States’ Congress called for the intervention of the African Union and United Nations in the immediate release of Sowore by the Nigerian Government with all charges against him dropped.
Ms. Bass, who represents 37th District of California, in a statement said, “I remain concerned by the continued detention of journalist, human rights activist and founder of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.
“Sowore was arrested on August 3 ahead of a planned demonstration against the government.
“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right guaranteed under both Nigerian and international law.
“I stand with the human rights and international community in declaring that the continued detention of Sowore is a flagrant violation of his human rights.
“I also stand with the international community in urging the AU and UN Special Rapporteurs to secure his immediate release from detention.”