The Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), organisers of the proposed ‘revolution’ march, vowed on Saturday to forge ahead with the plan regardless of the arrest of the arrowhead of the march, Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore was arrested at his Lagos residence early on Saturday by suspected personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The organization has not owned up to the arrest.
But Police Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu said yesterday that the march, scheduled for tomorrow, has ‘treasonable felony and acts of terrorism’ written all over it.
He warned the organizers to shelve their plan.
But the group insisted on going ahead.
It condemned Sowore’s arrest and called for his immediate release.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Amnesty International (AI) were joined by other groups in deploring the arrest.
The National Publicity Secretary of the NIM, Olusegun Obe, said in a statement yesterday that the project remained on course.
He said: “Third Force Movement of Nigeria under the umbrella of the Nigeria Intervention Movement, wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the planned nationwide mass protests against bad political system and malgovernance (sic) in Nigeria tagged “#Revolution Now!” starting on Monday, August 5, 2019.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this historic nationwide revolutionary action initiated by Nigerian masses and youths is purely aimed at overthrowing the corrupt and warped political system being operated by the country as well as changing the oppressive ruling class in Nigeria.
“Therefore, we have directed all our members, allies and supporters in the Third Force Movement, especially of the Nigeria Intervention Movement, Alliance for Defence of Democracy and some revolutionary political parties to join and support the historic mass action for a new Nigeria as already endorsed by icons like Prof Wole Soyinka, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili among others
“It is for this reason that we condemn in unequivocal stance the subversive arrest and detention of one of the key facilitators of #Revolution Now!, Sowore Omoyele; the Leader of the Take-It-Back Movement, who was forcefully abducted in his home around 1.25 a.m. today, Saturday (yesterday) and whisked away to an unknown destination
“We hereby demand from the Nigerian Presidency and its witch-hunting Department of State Security apparatus, the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore, as his continued incarceration will not deter our forces and cadres from embarking on the planned mass action against the oppressors of Nigerians on Monday as earlier scheduled.”
IGP: Planned march is treasonable felony
Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu said the attention of the police had been drawn “to a video circulating on the social media by the ‘Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria and others’, inciting Nigerians, home and abroad, to join a planned ‘revolution’ march against the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday, 5th August, 2019 with the sole aim of forcing a regime change in the country.”
Adamu said “the call amounts to treasonable felony and acts of terrorism and will therefore not stand idly-by and watch any individual or group in the society cause anarchy in the land.”
He added: “While acknowledging the rights of Nigerians to embark on protest, the Force wishes to note that such rights should not translate to a violent and forceful change of government which clearly is the meaning of ‘revolution’.
“Needless to state that Nigeria is a democratic republic and has well-defined processes for change of government, exercised periodically during various cycle of elections.
“The Force therefore warns the organizers, sponsors, allies, supporters, associates and sympathisers of the group ‘Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria’ to, in their own interest, steer clear of any such planned protest, demonstration, acts of incitement and proposed ‘revolution’, as the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on any individual or group engaged or found participating in the above planned criminal act.
“Parents and guardians are therefore enjoined to impress on their children and wards not to allow themselves to be used in whatever form by any person or group of persons to cause breach of law and order in the country.
“The Police will work with other Law Enforcement Agencies and positive minded Nigerians to protect, defend and secure our public peace and space.”
DSS keeps mum over Sowore’s arrest
The Department of State Services (DSS) which is believed to have arrested Sowore kept sealed lips over the matter yesterday.
The arrest in Lagos followed that of Abubakar Dadiyata also by the DSS in Kaduna on Friday.
Calls and text messages to the DSS spokesman, Mr. Peter Afunanya, on the issue elicited no response at press time.
Atiku, AI, others kick
Former Vice President and the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar condemned the arrest of Omoyele Sowere on his Twitter handle, saying: ‘Freedom of speech is not only constitutionally guaranteed, it is the substructure of our democracy. These kidnappings in the guise of arrests stands condemned. -AA’
Amnesty International’s initial reaction also came via its Twitter handle.
It said it “is concerned about the arrest of Omoyele Sowore @YeleSowore by DSS operatives. We urge the authorities to respect his rights and follow due process. If not charged for any offence, he should be released immediately.”
Sowore’s fellow activists including Kadaria Ahmed, Chidi Odinkalu, Hajia Aisha Yesufu and Shehu Sani also condemned the arrest.
Sani said: “Our democracy is a block of ice floating on warm waters. The sponsored protest and attacks on the @AmnestyNigeria stand condemned. The arrest & detention of @YeleSowore is needless; I join the call for his release.”
Sowore himself broke the news of his arrest when he tweeted “DSS invades Sowore’s” at 1.25am on Saturday.
He was said to have been driven to the Lagos head office of the DSS, Magodo.
SaharaReporters, Sowore’s online outfit, said his phone was forcefully seized before the arrest.
“An eyewitness confirming that his phone was forcefully taken from him,” it said in a report.
Shortly before his arrest, Sowore had tweeted: “All that is needed for a #Revolution is for the oppressed to choose a date they desire for liberty, not subjected to the approval of the oppressor.”
‘He was arrested at the gym’ – Sowore’s driver
Someone claiming to be Sowore’s driver said the Sahara Reporters publisher was arrested by armed men who “knocked on the door.”
The driver who did not give his name said on social media that “I noticed immediately that these knocks were strange. And didn’t open. I looked and I saw men armed to the teeth.
“They started forcing their way in like armed robbers. But I knew they were DSS men, knowing fully well the attention RevolutionNow has garnered. Sowore wanted to open at first but I immediately told him who they are. He retreated and like magic, he was not in the room when they forced their way in- 8 of them.
“That was when he managed to tweet. By this time, I had been beaten and handcuffed. Phones were snatched from me. An order to block all exits came from the leader when Sowore was not found inside. He was later arrested at the gym in a gestapo manner and dragged after a bit altercation.
“I followed them immediately till we got to CMD road around Ketu when one of them came down from the Sienna and corked his gun, threatening to shoot me. I had to escape at that point.”
Thanks for reading via the most updated news portal
Get us on Whatsapp: +234(0)8181166425
Email Us: firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPPORT LEAKBLAST JOURNALISM OF INTEGRITY AND CREDIBILITY
Good journalism costs a lot of money.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble Endeavor.
By contributing to LeakBlast, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.