The Department of State Services (DSS) says it arrested Omoyele Sowore, ex-presidential candidate, because he threatened the public peace and safety with his planned protest.
OKpadi reported that, in the middle of the night on Saturday, agents of the state service invaded Sowore’s residence and took him into custody. Before his arrest, he was promoting a protest tagged ‘#RevolutionNow’.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday, The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of DSS, Mr Peter Afunanya made the call, saying that Sowore crossed the red-line by calling for a revolution, noting that the secret police would “not just sit idly and watch any individual, group and their cohorts rise and threaten the peace, unity, and constitutionalism of the country’’.
According to him, the service is charged with the responsibility of managing, curtailing, containing and eliminating threats against national security. These threats include threats of sabotage, threats of subversion, threat of terrorism and of course, ethnic agitations, separatist agitations, economic sabotage and others.
He went on to say “We need to understand the meaning of Revolution, primarily, it means a revolt, it means insurrection, it means insurgency, it means forceful takeover of government and we are operating democratic system in Nigeria. Nigeria is not a banana republic and cannot suddenly be made one. So, the DSS will not just seat by and watch individuals or groups wanting to rise and threaten the peace and unity of the country,” he said.
“Though there is apprehension and anxiety among citizens already, we wish to assure friends of Nigeria, and other law-abiding citizens, that there will be no revolution of any kind come Monday, August 5, 2019,” he said.
“A democratically elected government is in charge, and we cannot allow any person or group to foment chaos or fan the ember of revolution.”
Some Nigerians, including Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Senator Sani, Nnamdi Kanu and Femi Falana have spoken against the arrest of Sowore.
The Department of State Services (DSS) called on Nigerians to disregard threat of revolution by Mr Omoyele Sowore. This came after confirmation that the #RevolutionNow convener was in their custody.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for clamping down on individuals perceived as its critics.
Falana said this while insisting that the planned protest march by the 2019 presidential aspirant of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore and some other individuals was not a treasonable offence.
Femi Falana, in a statement he signed and issued on Sunday countered the claim of the police, saying the Force had capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests.
The statement reads:
“No doubt, the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests. If revolution has become a criminal offence in Nigeria why were the leaders of the APC not charged for claiming to have carried out Nigeria’s democratic revolution which terminated the 16-year rule of the PDP in 2015?
“Why was Dr Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) not threatened with treason when he asked Nigerians to rise up for revolution via the 2019 general election?
“Did all Nigerian senators led by APC members not commit treason or terrorism when they spent one and a half hours on May 14, 2019 to debate Senator Chukwuka Utazi’s timely motion on “Bridging the gap between the haves and have-not to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution?”
He noted that “it is worrisome that the Buhari administration has decided to extend the ambit of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act to cover individuals and organisations that are critical of official policies or perceived marginalisation within the federation.”
President Buhari has asked Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore and others planning to a stage a ”revolution march” in Abuja and other parts of the nation today Monday, August 5th, to shelve their plans as an election is more appropriate for a change of government and not a ”revolution” as they have proposed.
A statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari respects and upholds the right of every Nigerian to peaceful protest and civil campaign but stressed that there is a difference between peaceful call to protest and incitement for a revolution.
The statement added that the ballot box is the only legitimate route for a decent change of government as the days of coups and revolution are over.
“The organisation championing this planned action is not fronted by any serious public faces. We call on the sponsors and organisers to have the decency to come forward and make their identity known – out of respect to all Nigerians – so that Nigerians can be fully aware in whose name this “revolution” is being proposed and who the beneficiaries may be.
Less than six months ago, Nigeria held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Both contests were won resoundingly by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All-Progressives Congress party. The campaign was observed, and results were confirmed by international election monitoring groups and observers. The result was even contested by the losing presidential candidate and his party in Court.
The ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government and a president in Nigeria. The days of coups and revolutions are over.
Those making the “revolution’’ call hide behind the veil of social media modernity. But without revealing the identity of their sponsors this shadowy campaign is no better, and no more democratic, than the days of old” he said.
President Buhari in the statement called on all those who seek to use and hide behind everyday citizens to attain power through undemocratic and violent means, which has been alluded, to come out clearly and be identified.
“They should lead their march in person. Only then will they begin to have the right to call themselves leaders before the people of Nigeria.”
The Inspector General of Police of Police, Adamu Mohammed, in a statement released on Saturday August 3rd, says anyone that participates in the ”revolution march” and is arrested will be treated as someone that has committed a treasonable felony.
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