The Federal Government on Sunday reacted to the controversial re-arrest of #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a statement, the government said Sowore “is a person of interest to the DSS” because he called for “a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.”
“He did so on television, and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely read digital newspaper run from the United States of America.”
This comes days after Sowore was dramatically re-arrested just hours after being freed on bail by a federal court.
His lawyer Femi Falana told AFP on Friday that his client escaped being picked up by DSS on the court premises. He said he “personally drove him” to DSS office on Friday “to avoid violence”.
Sowore is being held by Nigeria’s intelligence agency since his arrest on August 3 — despite two court orders granting him bail.
The journalist was released briefly on Thursday after a federal court gave the intelligence agency a 24-hour ultimatum to release Sowore pending his trial.
The controversial re-arrest added to growing concerns about Nigeria’s democracy and press freedom which critics say is under pressure.
Bob Menendez, a US Senator from New Jersey, where Sowore’s family is based, described his rearrest as a “blatant miscarriage of justice [which] is symptomatic of closing political and media space in Nigeria.” Menendez said he will be working with the US Ambassador to Nigeria to secure Sowore’s release.
Nigerian government described Sowore’s call for revolution as an “armed revolution” which is “not normal amongst ‘human rights activists.”
“Nigerians do not need another spate of lawlessness and loss of lives all in the name of ‘revolution’, especially not one that is orchestrated by a man who makes his home in far away New York,” it added.