…says Sowore’s arrest illegal
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- THE Convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, and human rights activist, Prince Deji Adeyanju, Tuesday, said that the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, should expect more protests.
Adeyanju stated this in a chat with Vanguard while reacting to the arrest of the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, for the 2019 general elections, Mr. Omowole Sowore, by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, and clampdown of protesters on Monday by security agents.
According to him Section 14 of the constitution states that sovereignty belongs to the people and it is from the people that the government derives all its powers, noting that civil societies have the right to protest over what they see as unacceptable.
He said: “There will be more protests because this attempt to cow people won’t work. Just like what Femi Falana said, a government that sees every protest as treason cannot be a democratic government. They should continue to protest and that is my advice to them.
“Basically, we have a government that does not understand what the constitution says. In the constitution section 14 says sovereignty belongs to the people and it is from the people the government derives all its powers.
“If the government says it wants to take away the power from the people then such a government is not a democratic government in line with section 14 that says Nigeria shall be a democracy under social justice shall prevail.
“Based on what the government did yesterday (Monday) was to take away sovereignty from the people because the people have right to protest.
“Now the protesters have the power to protest under the constitution. The President knows that people who want to overthrow democratically elected government don’t protest but they do it secretly at night; they plan, conspire through brutal force. The government must tolerate opposition, protesters.”
He also accused the government of hiring protesters to storm Amnesty International’s office recently, which the police did not teargas them, rather gave them security cover unlike what they did to #RevolutionNow protesters.
“They hired protesters to go protest at Amnesty Office, and the police did not shoot at them, and also organised protesters at Unity Fountain, Abuja, to protest and were given security cover and were not harassed”, he said.
Meanwhile, he condemned the arrest of Sowore who initiated #RevolutionNow and described it as illegality and wondered how long it will continue, “Arrest of Sowore is an illegality and I don’t know how long the President will continue to perpetrate all these constitutional illegalities he has been doing.
“All over the world protest is the potent way to draw government attention. Late Martin Luther King Jnr, Mahamanth Ghandi did and all over the world is successful.
“It happened in Sao Tome and Principe when there was violent takeover of government the people said they would not go to work and the military regime failed because they could not get the people to cooperate with them.
“When did the protesters for #RevolutionNow ever called for arms? They specifically said they were protesting the incessant killings, corruption in the country, unemployment, and increment in living wages. So how does that amount to a violent takeover of government? Those who we have elected to lead know what the law says.”
However, the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) has called on conveners and organizers of ‘Revolution Now’ to be cautious in the use of hyperbolic and sensational words as they may be interpreted otherwise thereby heightening the already tense situation in the country.
In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the Centre, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas(Rtd), in Abuja, the centre said the tension and restiveness which are generated by the deteriorating conflict trends are further aggravated by the prevalent hate speeches and resentful communication in the polity.
The statement reads in part, “This is a dangerous development which if not well managed and timely too, could spark off national crisis with far reaching consequences.
“Sensational and hyperbolic words such as ‘Revolution Now’ if loosely used, will no doubt be misinterpreted thereby heightening tensions and heating up the polity. There is the need on the part of the government and the governed to always exercise restraint in conflict or crisis situation.
“Therefore, we do not call for revolution in the current democratic setting in Nigeria. We call on all well-meaning individuals, groups, state and non-state actors to see this unwarranted and surreptitious call as a serious threat to our nascent democracy.”