The organiser of the RevelotionNow, Omoyele Sowore was rearrested on Friday, less than 24 hours after he was released a day before.
Armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) rearrested Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow protest, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, at the court premises few minutes after the sitting judge, Justice Ijoema Ojukwu adjourned the trial continuation till Feb. 11, 12 and 13 for definite hearing.
In response to the DSS action, a Nigerian lawyer, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa posted on Facebook;
“DSS CANNOT BE ABOVE THE LAW!
“This is lawlessness at its peak, for operatives of DSS to storm a courtroom where there is a presiding judge to arrest Omoyele Sowore, right inside the courtroom.
“It was reported that the presiding judge was chased away with guns and the whole courtroom is in pandemonium right now.
“I don’t feel proud to be a lawyer right now at all, let alone being a citizen of a country of lawless officers of the law who are shaming the law. We must rise up and kick against this evil.”
Sowore’s wife, Ope Sowore appealed to the Nigerian president to release her husband.
Mrs Ope Sowore said: “I’m concerned about what happened to my husband. It’s less than 24 hours that the Nigerian government has basically turned around and shown a gross abuse of power. I am praying and hoping that it will be resolved so that he can come home to meet me and the children.
“No clear roadmap or script on how to handle a situation like this. The reason why there is a rule of law is that it protects people’s basic rights and the fact that Buhari and the DSS have refused to do that is a matter of great concern.
“We are currently working with many international organisations to help advocate on his behalf and we have sent several urgent appeals to the United Nations,” she said.
The founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Atedo Peterside condemns the DSS action;
“Sadly this is no longer about Sowore alone. It is now more about Nigeria advertising itself globally as a Rogue State where various Government Officials and/or Agencies believe that they can decide if or when it suits them to respect the rule of law”
The opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the invasion of the court by the DSS operatives. The party said the action further confirms that Nigeria, under the Buhari Presidency, is finally sliding into a frightening dictatorship.
“Today, the world watched with shock as operatives of the Presidency-controlled DSS, in a most horrific manner, swooped on the court, held the judiciary to ransom, disrupted proceedings, scared away the judge, chased away lawyers and journalists, attacked and re-arrested persons standing trial within the precincts of the court, in a manner that can only be obtainable in Idi Amin’s Uganda.
“The invasion is in a forceful suspension of our constitutional order and a further battering of the judiciary, which points to an emerging lawlessness that can only find space in a military regime.
“Without prejudice to the charge against the Convener of the “Revolution Now” movement, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, the PDP holds that, in a normal democracy, it is the duty of the court to determine the fate of an accused, according to the laws and not a resort to brute force by the government to silence persons with dissenting voices.”
“A few years ago, I watched the video of a pack of the famed African wild dogs hunt, eventually bring down, and proceed to devour a quarry. It was an impala, antelope family.
“The pack isolated the most vulnerable looking member of the herd – it was pregnant – pursued it, until it fled to a waterhole which, for such animals, is the nearest thing to a sanctuary.
“A few minutes ago, almost as it was happening, I watched the video of a pack of the DSS, bring down, and fight over their unarmed, totally defenceless quarry within the sanctuary of a court of law.”
The former Vice President and 2019 Presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar also chided the DSS over the invasion of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“Today, I am in extreme anguish of spirit having watched the unfortunate drama that played itself out at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in which agents of the state not only caused a commotion in court in order to frustrate a judgement of a court of a competent authority.
“Never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a judge been treated in such a disdainful and brazen attack on not just her person and office, but on the entire judiciary. This is unacceptable. It is a rape on the sanctity of the court.”
“As officers of the court we are going to take appropriate steps, as a matter of fact, we have a sister case in court No 5 where we are also challenging the illegal detention of our client by the state security service.
“But I can assure you, what is going on will not go away unchallenged. We either run this country on the platform of the rule of law or we resort to gangsterism, which is what is going on.
“But we are not going to allow it because we fought against military dictatorship including General Muhammadu Buhari and defeated all of them.
“Under a democratically elected government, we are not going to allow anybody, no matter how highly placed, to put the rule of law or to treat the rule of law with disdain.”
“What was done to Yele Sowore today is a disgrace and an outrage! you fight and brutalise a man that has been granted bail by a court of law and you do it right there in the court that granted him bail!
“You drag him all over the floor and you forcefully take him back into detention! I say shame on you! if you can do this to him in front of television cameras only god knows what you can do to him behind closed doors!
“You have no respect for the constitution, no respect for the courts, no respect for judges, no respect for the rights of nigerian citizens, no respect for decency, no respect for humanity and no respect for god!”
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, on wrote to the United States President Mr Donald Trump to intervene.
“The violent re-arrest of Sowore and Bakare right inside the courtroom is a textbook case of a mockery of justice and abuse of the judicial process.
“It drives home the failure of the Nigerian government to fulfil its constitutional and international human rights obligations to respect citizens’ human rights and observe the rule of law,”
“He [Sowore] was released by court order. He should be released.”
“We are watching and we will continue to press and the consequences of anything happening to Mr Sowore will be far beyond any harm, that comes to him.”
“There will be consequences in our relationship with Nigeria.”
Dominic Camillus: “The truth be told..where on earth does it happens that the court grants bail to an alledged criminal(that verdicts have proved his innocence or have allowed to be trailer from home) is being arrested again on the grounds of another crime..please where did he commit the fresh crime?.. in the court room or on their(DSS) custody?..
“What’s happening?..this is very unfair and the highest form of wickedness and oppression..and now a higher power is advocating for justice and true democracy to prevail..we are here ranting and cursing them..let’s have it in mind that an oppression and injustice to one will lead to all…today it’s Sowere, tomorrow it may be you or me..let’s keep ethinicism,party, interest and sychophancy aside and face realities of Truth, ConscienceJustice,Equity and Fairness.”