COUNTRY office of Amnesty International on Saturday appealed to the Federal Government to respect rights of Omoyele Sowore, former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), who was taken by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) Saturday.
The international human right organisation also advised the government to follow due process, demanding for the release of the activist.
Sowore, Convener of #RevolutionNow had planned to stage a nationwide protest next Monday 5th August, an action which appeared to have unsettled the government authorities since the plan was made public last week.
The protest, according to the organisers, was meant to drive social change and foster a better Nigeria.
“Amnesty International is concerned about the arrest of Omoyele Sowore @YeleSowore by DSS operatives. We urge the authorities to respect his rights and follow due process. If not charged for any offence, he should be released immediately.”
AI Nigeria in another tweet also demanded the immediate probe of the sudden disappearance of Abubakar Usman, who was abducted Friday night.
“Since Friday night Abubakar Usman @dadiyata was abducted by gunmen from his home in Kaduna. His whereabouts are currently unknown. We call on authorities to investigate this and unite him with his family,” it tweeted.
However, it insisted that government’s action would not deter it from holding the federal government accountable.
Calls for ‘Revolution’ march is treasonable felony – Police
Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) however warned against execution of the planned protest describing it as a treasonable felony.
He further described it as an act of terrorism targeted at forcing ‘a regime change in the country’.
PLANNED ‘‘REVOLUTION’’ MARCH, A TREASONABLE FELONY – IGP WARNS
The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to a video circulating on the social media by the ‘Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria and others’, inciting Nigerians, home and abroad,
— Nigeria Police Force (@PoliceNG) August 3, 2019
“The Force wishes to state unequivocally that the call amounts to treasonable felony and acts of terrorism and will therefore not stand idly-by and watch any individual or group in the society cause anarchy in the land.
“While acknowledging the rights of Nigerians to embark on protest, the Force wishes to note that such rights should not translate to a violent and forceful change of government which clearly is the meaning of ‘revolution’.”
It reads further: “Needless to state that Nigeria is a democratic republic and has well-defined processes for change of government, exercised periodically during various cycle of elections.
“The Force therefore warns the organisers, sponsors, allies, supporters, associates and sympathisers of the group ‘Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria’ to, in their own interest, steer clear of any such planned protest, demonstration, acts of incitement and proposed “revolution”, as the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on any individual or group engaged or found participating in the above planned criminal act.
“Parents and guardians are therefore enjoined to impress on their children and wards not to allow themselves to be used in whatever form by any person or group of persons to cause breach of law and order in the country”.
Sowore: Calling for revolution in Nigeria ‘perfectly legal’, says lawyer
Bar. Uchena Amulu, a human right lawyer described the planned protest as legal as the police cannot arrest the protesters for an “offence that has not been committed”.
“They cannot arrest given that there is freedom of assembly, expression and association and you cannot take that away from any group of people.”
“Assuming it is illegal, the offence has not even been committed, so why the arrest?” The lawyer queried.
Calling for a revolution, he added, “is not illegal. If you feel the purpose for the protest is bad or against the law, you issue warning. You don’t arrest the person.”
Emeka Nnadozie @ChNnadozie expressed worry the nation is under military dictatorship under the guise of a democratic system of government.
“Sowore has been arrested by the DSS for organising a protest against bad governance. Nigeria is now under a military-style dictatorship under a system that pretends to be democracy. #FreeSowore”
Another Twitter account owner, Dr Remi Adekoya @RemiAdekoya1 wondered why the ruling government should be scared of protest. “A government that arrests a man planning protests is a government running scared. Make no mistake, Nigeria’s thieving rulers are very aware that if the people ever rise up, they are done for. What they fear most is a Nigeria that does not fear them. #FreeSowore #RevolutionNow”
Comrade Deji Adeyanju @adeyanjudeji described the nation as ‘comedy central’ for recognising the planned protest as treasonable offence. “Just read the press statement of the IG of Police on #RevolutionNow protest. He said the planned protest is treason & that the organisers & its sympathisers should bury the idea. Ha ha ha. Oh God, Nigeria is a Comedy Central. These same guys negotiate with bandits, BH & Herdsmen”.
On his part, Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation Minister @realFFK also described the arrest of Sowore as unnecessary and uncalled for while he condemned action of the federal government.
“The arrest of @YeleSowore is uncharitable, unkind, unnecessary, uncalled for, unsustainable, indefensible and regrettable. I condemn this fascistic and Gestapo-like action by the DSS against him and I call for his immediate and unconditional release. #FreeSoworeNow #RevolutionNow”.
“I see all sorts of people trying to justify @YeleSowore ‘s arrest. STOP! ….you cannot arrest someone in the anticipation that he will commit a crime. All that preemptive nonsense started by #Bush is anti-democracy #FreeSowore”. Kadaria Ahmed @KadariaAhmed tweeted.