FEMI Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday says less than 100, 000 Nigerians are actually concerned about continuous detention of Omoyele Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow, and publisher of Sahara Reporters.
This, Adesina said is contrary to popular belief that Nigerians were dissatisfied with actions of the Federal Government and the Department of State Security (DSS).
The presidential spokesperson said the ‘noise’ about human rights abuses against Sowore was coming from a meagre 100, 000 persons compared to millions of Nigerian citizens who were not bothered, but truly believe in the government’s decision on the accused.
He spoke during a live Channels television programme – Sunrise Daily with the theme Human Rights Rating in Nigeria.
“I don’t particularly agree with you. When you say a lot of Nigerians, you know that all these noises have been coming from less than 100, 000 Nigerians and the noise will be so loud that you think it is the whole country, it is a country of 198 million people,” Adesina said in response to a question on the arrest of Sowore.
“When 100, 000 are making noise in the media both social and traditional; you think the whole country is in an uproar?
“There are millions of people who are not bothered. There are millions of people who understand what the issues are, so you cannot just take the opinion of a local minority and then conclude that the country is in an uproar. That is not correct.”
The Federal Government on Sunday had stated that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS, thus, justifying his arrest.
Sowore has repeatedly been prosecuted and detained by the DSS operatives bordering on allegations of attempting to distabilise the nation.
Aside, the presidential aide particularly exonerated the DSS of committing any aberration in the court stressing that the attempt by DSS to arrest the #RevolutionNow convener was not in any form a desecration of the court.
Meanwhile, this is coming after the DSS had reportedly apologised to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court 7 where the last proceeding held on Friday.
“It depends on what is released, the concocted story or the reality. We have heard a concocted story with concocted video or with incomplete video and then the DSS has come out to give its own perspective so that gave us a fairly balanced picture,” said Adesina.
“If you will decide on the predilection of people you will want to believe but if you are fair-minded, balanced or neutral, I’m sure you will have a balanced perspective of what happened.
“As far as I am concerned, if you ask my opinion, I think what happened was not a desecration of the temple of justice as its being portrayed because the DSS has explained how things cleared out.”
Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and defense counsel had criticised repeated actions of the government and the DSS over the matter.
He had insisted on Friday that the DSS cannot arrest an accused person in a court premises, as it could bring ridicule to the court of law.
Again, the presidential aide described Falana as a party to the issue at hand, thus whatever claim from the lawyer should be subjected to verification.
“Falana is not a neutral party. We know the side he belongs to in this matter. Therefore, his opinion will not count much. If you want a balanced perspective, you listen to him, the DSS and then you can get a fairly balanced perspective. Mr. Falana is an interested party in this matter so I won’t take his words 100 per cent.”
Earlier, Joshua Alobo, National President, International Human Rights and Development Centre while sharing his thoughts said the Federal Government is principally responsible for the protection of human rights.
This, he noted led the government to establish the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
“To be fair to the NHRC, they have been opened to speak the truth to the authority but the other issue is whether the authority listens to those truths,” said Alobo.
He earlier condemned the decision of the DSS to re-arrest Sowore while in the court premises, adding that even if the accused person had committed new offence, it should be pronounced and determined by the court not the DSS.
“If you just granted bail to someone on 5th and the lawyer to the accused is alleging fear that he may be arrested; you debased the presence of the SAN and you said all statusquo should be maintained, it shows that we are not ready as a nation to move forward.”