By Stephen Ubanna
The Opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has expressed fear of Nigeria sliding to dictatorship . This is because of the alleged recent invasion of the a Federal High Court at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, by the Department of State Security, DSS, Operatives, in a bid to re-arrest Omoyele Sowore, Convener of Revolution Now,as the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, described the act as ‘’legendary an unrivaled’ in the country’s history. The treatment allegedly meted to the activist by the DSS operatives in the Court speaks volume.
The argument in both official and unofficial circles, was that President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, was instrumental to the re-arrest of the detained activist for daring him. But Garba Shehu, a senior Special Assistant to the Katsina state born Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, says the DSS, does not necessarily need the permission the Presidency in all cases to carry out ‘’its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Constitution which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in the country in 1999’’.
The Presidential Aide, was said to have told those that cares to listen that Sowore’s re-arrest was not unexpected , noting that ‘’he was a person of interest to the agency as the Convener of the Revolution to ‘’overthrow a democratically elected government of Nigeria’’
He may have given an insight to the DSS re-arrest of the activist, when he said that the government will not allow anybody to openly call for the destabilization of the country and get away. The government major worry , he seems to have alluded was the fact that Sowore was the Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, one of the parties, that contested the February 26, 2019, Presidential election , conducted by Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor , led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on.
It was not surprising why Peter Ifunanya, spokesperson, DSSS may have tried to clear the air over the activist arrest , stressing that ‘’he was taken into custody for allegedly resorting to calling for violence , forceful takeover f government and suspected transnational illegal activities’’.
The DSS spokesperson had said that the is ‘’facing trial, not as an activist , Journalist or Politician’’. He stated that he was re-arrested shortly after being released by the Court last Friday, for ‘’resorting to ‘’acts inimical to the country’s security’’, but ,however, failed to open up on what those acts were.
Indeed, contrary to reports making the round that Sowore was arrested in the Court, Ifunanya denied the allegation, stressing that ‘it was committed to the discharge of its mandate of protecting and preventing threats against the internal security of the nation’’.
He assured Nigerians that the agency would continue to support the country’s democracy which is anchored on the Rule of Law but would do everything within its powers to ensure that ‘’efforts by anti-democratic forces were frustrated’’. This may have informed why it re-arrested Sowore.
In spite of the fact that the DSS had denied invading the Abuja High Court to re-arrest, AAC, former Presidential Candidate, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, under the close watch of Tony Ojukwu, may not have been impressed by the conduct of the DSS Operatives in the Court.
Ojukwu, the NHC, boss , appears to have contradicted the DSS, claims when he said the ‘’Commission watched with dismay the conduct of the law enforcement officers in the Court and condemned it in its entire action’. ’Ojukwu, who could not hide his feelings had warned that ‘’impunity by law enforcement officers cannot be indulged in the country’s democracy because’’ impunity uproots the very foundation of our Constitution and Democracy’’.
It was not surprising why has called for the reorientation of the law enforcement officers in order to be law abiding in the discharge of their duties instead of seeing themselves as being ‘’ above the law’’. As a prelude to ensuring that the Abuja High Court incident would not repeat itself in the future.
The NHC, helmsman , was said to have also called for the arrest and trial of the DSS Operatives involved the Abuja Court invasion in order to serve as a reminder to all law enforcement officers that ‘’they must obey the law in carrying out their law enforcement duties’’.
Wole Soyinka, a Professor and Nobel Laureate, may have joined the NHC, boss to condemn, the DSS , operatives who had stormed the Abuja High Court with about three pickups trucks, ostensibly to re-arrest Sowore. Appealing to the President to call the DSS operatives to order, he had likened the Abuja High Court incident to what he called ‘’lessons from the African Wild Dog’’. An angry Soyinka had warned the government to ‘’uphold and respect Judicial institutions in order to prevent the present situation from degenerating into chaos’’.
Recall that the DSS , had released Sowore, last Thursday, on bail after disregarding two Court Orders to do so but re-arrested and detained him on Friday, December, 6, 2019. The re-arrest and detention of the activist appears to have attracted the attention of the Unite States, US, government.
The US , State Department may have spoken the mind of President Donald Trump when ‘’it urged the Nigerian government to ‘’respect the Rule of Law , judicial Independence , political and Media freedom’’ and release Sowore.
Meanwhile, Femi Falana, a senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and the activist Lawyer, has called for his release from the DSS custody. But whether the DSS, would release him or not remain to be seen.
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