Over 24-hours after operatives of the Department of State Services forcefully rearrested pro-democracy campaigner and journalist, Omoyele Sowore, Nigerians of all social standing have continued to condemn the action.
Sowore had arrived the Federal High Court, Abuja, early to stand trial in the case brought against him by the Nigerian Government accusing him of insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and planning to bring down his regime.
Midway through at the court’s proceeding, heavily-armed DSS operatives abruptly disrupted the session, forcing presiding judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, to run for safety.
After an unsuccessful move to leave the court premises, Femi Falana (SAN), volunteered to drive the journalist to the headquarters of the DSS where he has remained detained.
Leading the voices condemning the act, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, likened the actions of the DSS to wild dogs.
He said, “I watched the video of a pack of the DSS bring down and fight over their unarmed, totally defenceless quarry within the sanctuary of a court of law. I found little or no difference between the two scenarios, except that the former, the wild dogs, exhibited more civilised table manners than the DSS in court manners.”
Also, former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, described the act as a desecration of the judiciary, adding that the action of the DSS operatives was strange to the constitution.
She said, “Let it also be known by Buhari that the cruel, unreasonable or arbitrary use of the power he wields today as Nigeria’s President is alien to our Nigerian constitution and international law.
“As supervisor of the State Security Service, I demand that the President instructs the DG to immediately comply with the court order. Release Sowore immediately.”
Legal experts have also bemoaned the display of illegalities and lawlessness by the secret agency.
Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro (SAN), said that the government that disobeys court orders erodes its moral authority to enforce orders.
He said, “Actually going into a courtroom to effect an arrest, that is horrible, it should not be spoken of that any agency of government has done something like that.
“I believe that the Nigerian nation deserves an apology from the DSS for what they had done in court.
“It is not only a disgrace to the agency that did it, but also actually an embarrassment to us as a nation.”
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Adegboruwa, said the court needs to take urgent steps to protect judges and courts from further invasion, adding that the government must ensure that the DSS was made to account for their actions.
He said, “In any state where there is glaring disobedience of order of court or brazen infraction of the constitution, the AG of that state should be referred to the LPDC.
“Unless we act swiftly and urgently now, there seems to be more ahead in the coming days.”
Similarly, human rights activists and celebrities across the country have asked for the immediate release of Sowore and suspension of DSS boss, Yusuf Bichi.
Music artiste, Davido, said, “Justice slowly becoming a thing of the past in our dear country.
“A kid somewhere in Nigeria dreaming of becoming a lawyer and bettering the community would see this and start having doubts. Just sad.”
Ahmad Salkida is his submission, tweeted, “The actions of the DSS further underlines the accusations of official thuggery against hapless citizens as declared recently by #WoleSoyinka.
“The Buhari government is intolerant of the same type of activism that brought them to power. This is a dark day for democracy. #FreeSowore.”
Comrade Deji Adeyanju stated that, “We are not afraid of the tyrant; we are not afraid of cowardly DSS; we are not afraid of the cabal.
“They cannot make us live in fear in a democracy. We will never bow to tyranny and their threats. #FreeSoworeNow.”
On his part, JJ. Omojuwa tweeted, “Forget your political affiliation, what happened to Sowore is an attack on your freedom and dignity as a Nigerian citizen.
“It should never happen. It is a disgrace on the Nigerian Government and it should never be allowed to stand.”
Toke Makinwa while commenting on the issue, said, “Your neighbour is being robbed and you turn off your lights and go to sleep because your house is safe, you forget that the neighbourhood is under attack.
“This concerns all of us regardless of who’s side you are on. We are all not invincible, what happens when they eventually come for you?
“God have mercy on Nigeria. #Freesoworenow.”
Senior Pastor of Daystar Church, Sam Adeyemi, also condemned the rearrest of Sowore.
He said, “Watching the video of the rearrest of Mr Sowore right inside a court of law is saddening.
“People expect their leaders to model the right behaviour. When those that should enforce the law break it, it weakens everyone’s resolve. We must do better to build our democracy.”
Timi Dakolo, popular musician tweeted, “This Sowore matter concern us all. If we are not safe inside a courtroom, I wonder where is a safe place for us as Nigerians.
“Today it is Sowore, tomorrow it might me or you or someone close to you. It should concern you. #FreeSoworeNow.”