DSS Gets Court’s Permission To Detain Sowore For 45 Days

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the Department of State Services (DSS) permission to keep Omoyele Sowore, a former presidential candidate, in detention for 45 days.

Sowore was arrested by the DSS on Saturday, August 3, 2019 for calling for nationwide protests, tagged RevolutionNow, against the Buhari-led government.

The Sahara Reporters founder accused the current government of badly managing the affairs of the country and called on Nigerians to reject the wickedness of the establishment.

After the DSS picked him up on Saturday, the agency accused him of threatening the harmony of the nation by plotting to overthrow a democratically-elected government.

The agency then filed a motion before the court to keep him in custody pending the conclusion of its investigation. The motion was filed under Section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

While ruling on Thursday, August 8, Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted the ex-parte motion to the secret police.

The DSS submitted to the court two digital clips, one of which showed a meeting between Sowore and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

IPOB, a separatist group, was branded a terrorist organisation in 2017 after clashes with the Nigerian Army.

Kanu is himself a wanted suspect who jumped bail after he was released on medical grounds in 2017 while standing trial for charges relating to treasonable felony for his secessionist position.

Kanu and Sowore had talked about working together during that meeting that took place early last month.

“It doesn’t matter where oppression is ruining your life, what you need is freedom and what we are determined to give you is that freedom,”

Sowore had said.

In the second clip submitted to the court, Sowore is believed to have been captured on camera remarking that members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were going to join forces with him to bring down the Nigerian government.

The IMN was also branded a terrorist organisation last month after several high profile clashes with security forces during its protests for the release of its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who’s been in DSS detention for the past four years.

Justice Taiwo remarked on Thursday that the DSS has the liberty to ask for even more time to detain Sowore if it hadn’t concluded investigations by the end of the 45 days just granted. The DSS had initially requested to keep Sowore for 90 days.

Many Nigerians have condemned Sowore’s arrest and called for his release from detention.

They include Professor Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana, and former presidential candidates, Dr Oby Ezekwesili and Atiku Abubakar.

In its condemnation of the RevolutionNow protests, the presidency said only an electoral process determines a change of government, not a forceful overthrow.

Despite the warnings of security agencies against the protests, many staged demonstrations in a few states in the country on Monday, leading to a crackdown that involved many arrests in Lagos, Osun, Ogun and Cross River.

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