MINISTER of state for labour and employment Festus Keyamo appears to have distanced himself from the recent raiding of an Abuja courtroom by the Department of State Security (DSS) by denying a statement justifying their actions.
Himself a lawyer and former human rights activist, Mr Keyamo had been arrested in the past for activism and for calling for the secession of the Niger Delta in the early 2000s. Over the last week, he has come under fire for not condemning the actions of the DSS after its operatives invaded an Abuja courtroom to arrest former presidential candidate and Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore.
Last Friday, heavily-armed DSS operatives disrupted the court proceedings, drove away Mr Sowore’s lawyer Femi Falana 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.
Following Mr Sowore’s re-arrest, there were reports on social media that Mr Keyamo justified it saying a person could be arrested anywhere including a courtroom. Today, however, he took to Twitter to deny justifying the re-arrest of Mr Sowore, saying the comments attributed to him were false.
Mr Keyamo tweeted, “Fake news with no link. The unfortunate ones have fallen for it. As usual, there would be no apologies to me. Life goes on. It’s freedom of speech!”
His tweet, however, attracted more comments as many of his followers asked him to express his view on the controversial arrest of Sowore. Like many human rights advocates serving in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Mr Keyamo has kept mute since the incident occurred.