FORMER presidential candidate and Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore will have to either be released soon or charged after an Abuja high court rejected a federal government plea to detail him for 90 days.
On Saturday, men of the Department of State Security (DSS), picked up Mr Sowore in Lagos as he was planning to organise a series of nationwide demonstrations under the banner RevolutionNow. He has since been moved to the DSS headquarters in Abuja and yesterday, the federal government asked for a court order to detain him for 90 days but this request was denied by the Abuja Federal High Court.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had accused Mr Sowore of committing a treasonable act for calling on Nigerians to pour out on the streets on August 5 to protest against his government’s failure to improve the living conditions of Nigerians. Many of the protesters, who took to the streets in major cities across the country yesterday, were harassed and arrested by security operatives.
In its application made yesterday, the federal government, through the DSS, claimed that the 90-day window would enable it to conclude investigations into acts of terrorism it is accusing Mr Sowore of. However, his lawyer Femi Falana, has warned that President Buhari will be his first witness in court if the DSS arraigns Mr Sowore, in court.
Mr Falana who revealed that he has been in contact with Mr Sowore following his arrest on Saturday, recounted how President Buhari called for revolution in 2011. He further disclosed that Mr Sowore, the former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress refused to write statement, insisting he must speak to his lawyer.
“I do hope that the government will not be stupid to charge Sowore but in fairness to the DSS, they gave him a telephone to phone me. Of course I knew they were monitoring the phone and I told him I hope they won’t charge you because if they do, some of the people in government will be our witnesses.
“You know why? One of them, I won’t mention his name in 2011 asked Nigerians to learn from the Egyptian revolution and be ready for a revolution in Nigeria, so, he will be my first witness. The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi and four other people were charged with treasonable felony by the Ibrahim Babangida junta and we were detained in Kuje Prison for two months.
“We were taken to the court and what was the offence? I think we went beyond Sowore as we posted thousands of posters across the country, that Babangida must go and that was the treasonable felony” Mr Falana added.