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Sowore vs DSS: US stresses ‘respect for rule of law’

 

The United States has called on the Nigerian Government to respect the
rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom.
The US State Department made the call while reacting to the re-arrest
of the convener of RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore on Friday.
The bureau is under the US Department of State, the equivalent of
Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry.
Recall that the DSS operatives on Friday allegedly chased out lawyers
from the courtroom and attacked journalists after which they
re-arrested Sowore.
In a tweet on Saturday, the office said respect for the rule of law,
judicial Independence, political and media freedom and due process are
the principles of democracy.
“We are deeply concerned that #Sowore has been re-detained in
#Nigeria, shortly after a court ordered he be released on bail,” the
bureau tweeted.
“Respect for rule of law, judicial independence, political and media
freedom, and due process are key tenets of #democracy.”
Many Nigerians commenting on the tweet described the administration of
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as a “military regime and
tyrannical.”
However, some others expressed solidarity with the action of the DSS.
Sowore was rearrested in Abuja by the Department of State Services
(DSS) on Friday. Armed DSS operatives reportedly chased the judge away
in the process of arresting the publisher of Sahara Reporters.
Before he was released on Thursday, the #RevolutionNow convener had
spent 125 days in DSS custody.


 …activist’s wife begs American govt, raises alarm over threat to husband’s life

Opeyemi, the wife of convener of RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele
Sowore, has raised the alarm over threat to her husband.
She called on the United States, US, government to intervene in the
predicament of her husband, who was re-arrested by operatives of the
Department of State Services, DSS, in an Abuja Federal High Court on
Friday.
Addressing a press briefing in the US over the weekend, Opeyemi said
her husband’s life might be in great danger unless the U.S. government
intervenes.
Opeyemi insisted that Sowore’s re-arrest was a show of lawlessness and
a gross disregard for the rule of law.
She said: “After over 125 days of my husband being in detention
illegally, he was finally set free.
“He got to speak to myself and the children. For the first time, we
got to see his eyes when we spoke to him.
“I haven’t told them yet that he was rearrested. I was truly shaken to
my core what I witnessed this morning. I was woken up by 4 am by what
I call truly outrageous and a gross disregard for the rule of law.
“My husband was strangled and forcefully removed from the courtroom.
The judge had to run and hide for her own safety. How do I tell my
children who, after 125 days, have for the very first time spoken to
their dad and seen his face that he is again in detention and he may
not be coming home for Christmas? How do they understand this? Where
do they go from here?”
“My 10-year-old (son), one of the things he wants for Christmas is for
his dad to be home for Christmas. Christmas is only a few days away.
What do I tell him when I leave here and get home?
“I’m truly afraid for his life and at this point, I believe the only
way to bring him home is with the help of the United States.”


 …Presidency breaks silence, defends DSS

The Presidency yesterday, broke its silence on the travails of
convener of Revolution Now, Omoyele Sowore, in the hands of the
Department of State Services (DSS).
The secret police had released Sowore momentarily after 124 days in
detention. This followed an ultimatum by a federal high court in
Abuja.
But less than 24 hours after he was freed, the agency rearrested him.
This sparked outrage within and outside the country.
Many had accused the government of President Muhammadu Buhari of
sliding into dictatorship “through the attempt to silence critics”.
A US senator, Robert Menendez, had asked Buhari if he was aware of
what the DSS was doing in his name.
But in a statement on Sunday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu,
said Sowore is a person of interest to the secret police.
“The Presidency notes some of the insinuations in the media about the
arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) of the agitator,
Omoyele Sowore,” Shehu said in a statement.
“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.
“However, it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions
and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS. 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.”
Sowore, according to Shehu, is not an ordinary citizen expressing his
views freely on social media and the internet.
He said no government will allow “anybody to openly call for
destabilization in the country and do nothing.”
Comparing Sowore’s activism to the insurgency in the north-east, Shehu
said: “The Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also
fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution.”
“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,” Shehu said.
“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.
“To believe in and desire armed revolution is not normal amongst
‘human rights activists’, as Sowore has been incorrectly described.
“Nigeria is already dealing with an insurgency that has left millions
of people displaced and desperate in the northeastern region of our
country.
“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.”

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