Human Rights Activist, Omoyele Sowore, has dragged the Department of State Security Services (DSSS) and Senior Pastor, Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Dr. Paul Enenche, to court over prolonged/unlawful detention of five protesters who were arrested at the Dunamis church headquarters in Abuja, last Sunday, for holding a symbolic protest.
Sowore said the protesters, Emmanuel Larry, Henry Nwodo, Samuel Gabriel, Ben Manasseh and Anene Udoka, attended a church service at the Dunamis church in Lugbe, Abuja, with T-shirts inscribed with “Buhari Must Go”.
He stated that since the unfortunate event which happened five days ago, the detained young people have been denied access to their lawyers and close family members even when they have not committed any offence known to the laws of Nigeria.
Sowore maintained that the arrest and continued detention have no basis in law and a contravention of the fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, assembly and movement of the detainees as guaranteed under sections 39, 40, 41, respectively, in the Nigerian constitution and other international conventions and treaties to which Nigeria is a party to.
He confirmed that a group of lawyers have filed for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of the detained persons in a joint suit involving the DSS who is holding them illegally in custody, DSS Director General and Pastor Paul Enenche, who handed them over for arrest have been joined in the lawsuit.
He, thus, called on the DSS to immediately and unconditionally release the detained protesters, insisting that protest remains lawful and democratically permitted in Nigeria.
Addressing in Abuja, on Friday, Sowore said the action of the Church (Dunamis) and DSS violated the constitutional provisions of Nigeria, accusing Pastor Enenche of colluding with DSS to unleash injustice and terror on the five protesters.
He, however, disclosed that the group has concluded plans to disrupt church activities on Sunday with symbolic protest if their detained colleagues are not released before Sunday.
He said: “It’s obvious that the Church and the Pastor are accomplices in this unfortunate event. As a result, we would embark on symbolic protest on Sunday. We would mobilize our members in large numbers to disrupt activities at the church on Sunday.”
He confirmed that the group’s representatives met with the Senior Pastor of the church, Dr. Enenche, on Monday, a day after the incident, and they had extensive discussion which centred how to secure the unconditional release of the detainees.
He added: “We secured an assurance from the church leadership that the detained friends would be released. But that has not been done as at Friday noon. The church continued to exonerate itself from the action of the DSS even when it was obvious with pictorial and video evidences that they were involved.”