BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The Presidency on Sunday reacted to the re-arrest of the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore on Friday in court by operatives of the Department of State Services, saying that he is a person of interest to the secret police.
The Presidency said that the Department of State Services (DSS), does not necessarily need its (Presidency) permission 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.
These were contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to th President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who said that the Presidency has noted some of the insinuations in the media about the arrest by the DSS of Sowore.
Shehu further said; “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.”
Shehu explained that Sowore is not an ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet, stressing that “no government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing.”
The Presidential spokesman while comparing Sowore’s activism to the insurgency in the North-east, said noted that the Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution.
According to Shehu; “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.
“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 North Eastern region of our country,” Shehu enthused.
The Presidency said that 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,” Shehu insists.
The re-arrest of Sowore on Friday by operatives of the DSS had sparked outrage within and outside the country with so many people and groups accusing the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of sliding into full blown dictatorship as well as calculated attempt to silence critics.
Specifically, a United States Senator, Robert Menendez, asked if President Buhari was aware of the actions of the DSS that seems to be doing things in his name.