Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has said while the Department of State Services (DSS) did not necessarily need its permission in all cases to carry out its responsibilities laid down in the Constitution, Omoyele Sowore’s action has made him a person of interest to the secret service.
The DSS is under the direct control and supervision of the Presidency.
Sowore was rearrested by the DSS in an Abuja courtroom barely 24 hours after he was released from 125 days of detention.
In a statement, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow democratically elected government.
Presidency noted that Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet, adding that for one who believed in and desired armed revolution, it was incorrect to describe him as ‘human rights activist’.
Shehu said: “The Presidency notes some of the insinuations in the media about the arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) of the agitator, Omoyele Sowore.
“The DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the Presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian Constitution – which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in our country in 1999.
“However, it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS.
“Sowore 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.
“He founded an organisation, RevolutionNow, to launch, in their own words, “Days of Rage” with the publicised purpose of fomenting mass civil unrest and the elected administration’s overthrow. No government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing.
“Mr. Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet.
“He was a presidential candidate himself, who ran – and lost – as the flag bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 23 general elections.
“Nigeria’s democracy was a long time in the making, and was achieved after decades of often harsh, military-led overthrows of government: the kind of situation Sowore was advocating.
“To believe in and desire armed revolution is not normal amongst ‘human rights activists’, as Sowore has been incorrectly described.
“Again, it is no surprise that he should be a person of interest to the DSS.
“Nigeria is already dealing with an insurgency that has left millions of people displaced and desperate in the northeastern region of our country. The Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution.
“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 – and who can easily disappear and leave behind whatever instability he intends to cause, to wit, Nnamdi Kanu. This is a matter for the DSS, acting under its powers.”
Meanwhile, the DSS has dismissed the viral video clip on attempt to rearrest Sowore as mischief.
Dr Peter Afunanya, the DSS Public Relations’ Officer in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said the video was meant to serve as propaganda to bring the service to disrepute.
He said the DSS could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who is not only handling its case but whose order was unconditionally obeyed within a 24 hour ultimatum.
He said the service hold the judiciary in utmost respect and would continue to work with it for national peace and public safety.