PRESIDENCY officials have revealed that Aso Rock is not bothered about the recent international condemnation that has trailed the storming of an Abuja courtroom by Department of State Security (DSS) officials as Nigeria is a sovereign state.
Last Friday, heavily-armed DSS operatives disrupted the court proceedings, drove away Femi Falana, the lawyer of Sahara Reporters publisher and former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore and chased Justice Ojukwu out of the courtroom at gun point. They then arrested Mr Sowore and are keeping him in detention despite a court ruling compelling the agency to release him on bail.
There has been widespread condemnation of the action both locally and internationally, with one newspaper deciding to refer to President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of major General as a result of the debacle. However, presidency spokesman Femi Adesina, said Nigeria is a sovereign nation and will not be bothered about the reports from the US, UK and the European Union with regards to human rights abuses.
Mr Adesina said: “We are not answerable to the US, the UK or the EU, we are Nigeria, a sovereign country. Those countries and entities have issues of their own, so let them deal with their issues and let Nigeria also deal with her internal issues.”
He added that the presidency would not take the opinion of a few Nigerians as that of the majority. According to Mr Adesina, the ultimatum issued by 14 civil society groups as well as the editorial by The Punch newspaper, demanding that Mr Sowore be released within 14 days was not the mind of the majority of Nigerians.
“Genuine issues will be looked into. We have had instances in which the government had to reverse itself because there were concerns raised, which shows that the government is responsive but you cannot listen to a babble of voices or it will distract you from what you are doing.”
When reminded of the fact that he was also a journalist before taking up the job to be the president’s spokesman, Mr Adesina said he would remain true to his calling. He added: “I am still in the media. it is just that the roles are a bit reversed. When I am done with government by the grace of God, I will still return to the media.”