- As American Government Kicks
Three days after the men of the Department of State Services (DSS) desecrated the federal High Court, Abuja to re-arrest Pro-democracy Campaigner, Omoyele Sowore, the presidency has failed to condemn the invasion, but had instead backed the arrest by the DSS without minding its manner.
The secret police had on Friday, swooped on a court in session, presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, bundling out Sowore in a style that Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has likened to “African wild dogs on a pack hunt.”
Though the DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunnaya has said Sowore was mobbed by his “supporters” who were trying to shield him from “an imaginary arrest,” the widely circulated video showing the courtroom drama evidenced the invasion by the DSS.
In a statement released on Sunday by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, the presidency said, “This is a matter for the DSS, acting under its powers.” The statement continues: “the DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the Presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian Constitution – which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in our country in 1999.
“However, it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS.
“Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.
“He did so on television, and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely read digital newspaper run from the United States of America.
“He founded an organisation, Revolution Now, to launch, in their own words, ‘Days of Rage’, with the publicised purpose of fomenting mass civil unrest and the elected administration’s overthrow,” the presidency said.
The arrest has sparked local and International outrage as the Nigerian Bar Association called on President Buhari to immediately suspend DSS Director General, Yusuf Bichi for allowing his men invade a courtroom as seen in several footages, which forced Justice Ojukwu to abandon sitting and judicial activities for the day.
“We call for the immediate suspension of the Director-General of the Department of State Security from office.
“We make this demand bearing in mind the fact that the DSS under his leadership had established itself as a brutish and irresponsible agency that derives immense pleasure from violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and disrespecting court orders.
“The National Assembly should review the laws setting up the DSS and indeed all security agencies in Nigeria with a view to repositioning them to be more responsible and responsive to the public,” the NBA said in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government has expressed its deep concerned for the rearrest of Sowore by the DSS.
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor of the U.S. State Department who spoke on behalf of the American government on its Twitter handle said: “We are deeply concerned that #Sowore has been re-detained in #Nigeria, shortly after a court-ordered he be released on bail. Respect for rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom, and due process are key tenets of #democracy.”
We are deeply concerned that #Sowore has been re-detained in #Nigeria, shortly after a court ordered he be released on bail. Respect for rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom, and due process are key tenets of #democracy.
— U.S. State Dept | Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor (@StateDRL) December 7, 2019
Also, on Saturday, U.S Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman, Josh Gottheimer said they’re ‘deeply concerned’ about the rearrest.
“@SenatorMenendez and I are deeply concerned about the re-arrest, harassment and ongoing detention in Nigeria of Omoyele Sowore from Haworth, NJ. We will continue working to ensure he is not deprived of his rights and will be able to return to his family safely,” Gottheimer wrote on Twitter.