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‘Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS’, Presidency justifies his arrest, DSS treatment




THE Presidency on Sunday broke its silence on the drama at the Federal High Court on Friday which led to the rearrest of convener of #RevolutionNow, and publisher of Saharareporters, Omoyele Sowore by operatives of Department of State Service (DSS).

The Presidency in a statement titled, “Sowore: Between fact and fiction” by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave justification for the arrest of the journalist turned politician, insisting that Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.

It also stated that the detained journalist “is a person of interest to the DSS,” based on his words and pedigree.

The statement by Shehu while supporting the action of the DSS, was kept mum on the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja by operatives of the DSS. 

It however disclosed that the DSS doesn’t necessarily need the permission of the President to carry out it functions.

“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,” the Presidency emphasised in the statement.

The Presidency statement read in parts, “it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS.”

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“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.

“No government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing.

“Mr. Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet.

“He was a presidential candidate himself, who ran – and lost – as the flag bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 23 general elections.

“Nigeria’s democracy was a long time in the making, and was achieved after decades of often harsh, military-led overthrows of government: the kind of situation Sowore was advocating.

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“To believe in and desire armed revolution is not normal amongst ‘human rights activists’, as Sowore has been incorrectly described.

“Again, it is no surprise that he should be a person of interest to the DSS.

“Nigeria is already dealing with an insurgency that has left millions of people displaced and desperate in the northeastern region of our country.

“The Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution.

“Nigerians do not need another spate of lawlessness and loss of lives all in the name of ‘revolution’, especially not one that is orchestrated by a man who makes his home in far away New York – and who can easily disappear and leave behind whatever instability he intends to cause, to wit, Nnamdi Kanu.

“This is a matter for the DSS, acting under its powers.”

It would be recalled that operatives of the DSS had on Friday stormed the Federal High Court, Abuja to effect the arrest of Sowore and Bakare barely 24 hours after they were released on bail from detention  on the order of the court.

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Sowore and Bakare were arrested by the operatives of DSS on August 3, 2019, at about 1:25 am according to a distress tweet he posted just before his phone was confiscated.

Both detainees are facing seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, money laundering and cybercrimes, amongst others.

But after spending 124 days in the DSS custody, they were released on Thursday night, following an order given by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja who gave the security agency a 24-hour ultimatum to effect the bail order earlier issued.


Author profile

Olayinka works with The ICIR as the Social Media Manager, Reporter and Fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via oshehu@icirnigeria.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @ShehuOlayinka1

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