Many Nigerians have taken to the social media to react to the re-arrest of the leader of the RevolutionNow movement Omoyele Sowore by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) today.
A Federal High Court Judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had yesterday, ordered the DSS to release Mr. Sowore since he had met his bail conditions. The DSS had complied with the order as they released Sowore yesterday in the evening.
However, today (Friday) operatives of the DSS stormed Justice Ojukwu’s court room when sitting on Sowore’s case had ended and they were leaving the court room to re-arrest Mr. Sowore and his co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare. Justice Ojukwu who was attending to another case had to abruptly end it as she was escorted to the safety of her chambers by her police orderly. Lawyers and others in the court room had to scamper for safety.
Reacting to the situation, Mr. Sowore’s lead counsel and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) described the development as a “horrendous, bizarre, and barbaric contempt of court” never witnessed under “even the most brutal of past dictators that had ever ruled Nigeria”.
“Under the military regime, the so-called enemies of the government would not be arrested in the web of the court which is considered a sanctuary.
“The military regimes would always show some respect for the court and would only arrest after the person left the court premises.
“What we have witnessed today is alien to Nigeria.”
Mr. Falana also disclosed that at a meeting which Justice Ojukwu called to be held in her chambers with him and the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), the judge “expressed dismay” over the development as she said, “she was made to flee her court”.
In his reaction through his social media handles, Mr. Fela Durotoye who was the presidential candidate of the ANN in the 2019 general elections described the situation as “indeed another tragic day for the RULE of LAW in our nation”.
He said: “This savage act by the DSS operatives just proved to the whole world that the Executive arm of the Federal Government has no respect for the Judiciary and no regard for the rule of law and separation of powers.”
Another presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, Oby Ezekwesili, through her Twitter handle said, “Let it also be known by @MBuhari that the cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of the power he wields today as @NGRPresident is alien to our Nigerian Constitution and International Law.
“I advise the President to cease this descent to fascism immediately and #RespectCourtOrder.”
To Nigerians, Mrs Ezekwesili said “I urge my fellow citizens who are reasonable enough to know that today’s episode amounts to full aggression against the Judiciary by the Executive arm of @MBuhari and portends an extremely dangerous development. We must all stand to defend our hard won Democracy. We must.”
Another social media commentator and supporter of the President Buhari administration, Mr. JJ Omojuwa said: “Forget your political affiliation, what happened to Sowore today 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!”
Sowore and his co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare are being prosecuted on charges of treasonable felony following their call for ‘Revolution Now’ protest.
As at the time of filing this report, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) said he has not been allowed to meet with his client as the DSS asked him to return later.