A FEDERAL High Court in Abuja has granted the Department of State Security (DSS) to detain for 45 days Omoyele Sowore, human right activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters that convened the #RevolutionNow protest in Nigeria.
The permission was given by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on Thursday on an ex parte application filed by the DSS.
The State Service last Saturday had arrested Sowore, former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), for convening a protest and filed an application on Tuesday, requesting to detain Sowore for 90 days in order to help it “carry out a further investigation” on why he called for revolution.
The agency predicated its application on the provision of section 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act.
The judge said the Sowore should continue his detention for a period of 45 days, starting to count from Thursday, August 8. He added that the detention order would be renewable after the expiration of the 45 days on September 21.
The justice said he granted the DSS application, “only to the extent” of allowing the security operatives to conclude its investigation.
But if the security agency required more time to conclude its investigation after the expiration of the first 45 days, Taiwo said there was liberty to apply for its renewal.
Being an ex parte application, neither Sowore nor his legal team was represented at the court ruling.
The judge noted that he would be failing in his duty not to grant the request for a detention order, even if it was one-sided.
“…although the hearing of the application is one-sided as provided by 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act, the use of the word, ‘may’, in the provision is ‘directory and not ‘discretionary,” he said.
Sowore convened the nationwide protest which held in a few states in Nigeria on Monday but many of the protests ended in violence as the security operatives dispersed the protesters with teargas, arresting of them. The protest, according to the organisers, was meant to drive social change and foster a better Nigeria
He was arrested two days to the protest.
Meanwhile, his arrest had been frowned at by many national and international organisations. The Amnesty International had called for his immediate release on Wednesday.