SOWORE REARREST: Presidency defends DSS, says agency acting under its powers

DSS official wrestle Sowore in the court room

The presidency has finally opened up on the disgraceful incident, Friday, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, where men of the Department of State Services (DSS) had gone to re-arrest convener of Revolution Now, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.

The secret police, following ultimatum by the federal high court, had released Sowore, who had been in their custody for 124. Surprisingly, the federal agency less than 24 hours after he was freed, rearrested him, a development that sparked outrage within and outside the country.

Many had accused the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari of sliding into dictatorship “through the attempt to silence critics”.

A United States of America senator, Robert Menendez, had actually wondered if President Buhari was aware of what the DSS was doing in his name.

Nonetheless, a statement on Sunday from the Presidency signed by Mallam Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to President Buhari on media and publicity, said Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS.

The statement reads:
“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.”

According to the presidential spokesperson, Sowore 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 faraway 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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