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Protesters storm DSS as they fail to release Sowore

Human Rights activists on Saturday staged a protest at the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja, demanding for the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest,  Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare.DSS on Friday evening said Sowore and Bakare were not released because no one came for them.

This claim was faulted by their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN). He stated that the DSS decided not to release his two clients to his lawyers who waited in vain for not less than four hours at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.On Saturday, social activist, Deji Adeyanju, and other activists went to the headquarters of the DSS but he said Sowore was not released.

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court had issued the warrants for the release of the duo and the DSS has acknowledged receipt of the warrants. On September 30, the duo were arraigned before an Abuja Federal High Court on charges of “treason, money laundering, and harassing the president”. Though, they were granted bail with stiff conditions on October 4, they are yet to be released by the Department of State Services (DSS) which has claimed it could not find someone to release them to, weeks after meeting the bail conditions.

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The eminent group stated in the statement that “The continued detention of both human rights advocates is an egregious injustice and a travesty of the rule of law. The charges that the Federal Government has brought against Messrs. Sowore and Bakare are totally bogus and laughable. Evidently, both have been targeted by the Buhari administration for their brave and unstinting activism in the cause of political freedom and economic prosperity for all Nigerians.

“In the specific case of Mr. Sowore, it would seem reasonable to surmise that his continued detention is not unrelated to the vigorous and unsparing criticism of the current administration and the state of affairs in Nigeria by his online newspaper, Sahara Reporters. “Sowore’s call for a “revolution” in Nigeria is not unprecedented. Many who have expressed patriotic and visionary objections to the fundamental crises of the Nigerian state have made similar calls in the past. Protesters storm DSS

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President Muhammadu Buhari did so when he felt that elections were rigged against him. He even cited the example of the “Egyptian revolution.” Before he became president, Buhari relentlessly inveighed against three successive presidents, even as he repeatedly lost electoral contests against his predecessors. He was neither harassed nor detained. “Indeed, today, President Buhari is a beneficiary of the gallant efforts of the likes of Sowore, over almost two decades, to return Nigeria to democratic rule and expand the space for democratic life. Protesters storm DSS

“Therefore, this insidious and lawless move by the Buhari administration runs against the basic ethos of democracy, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” They urge “Nigerians from all walks of life and those committed to human liberty all over the world to speak up against this blatant perversion of justice. We call on the National Assembly, civil society organizations, and international human rights and political advocacy organizations to put pressure on the Federal Government to release Messrs. Protesters storm DSS

Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare immediately. The continued detention of these two Nigerians – and indeed others who have been granted bail by the courts – makes a mockery of our hard-won democratic freedoms.” Below is list of the statesmen and women who signed the press statement: Ebenezer Obadare, University of Kansas, USA Wale Adebanwi, University of Oxford, UK Ayisha Osori, Concerned Citizen, Abuja, Nigeria Chido Onumah, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Abuja, Nigeria Frank Aragbonfoh Abumere, The Arctic University of Norway, Norway Kunle Ajibade, The News, Lagos, Nigeria G. Ugo Nwokeji, University of California, Berkeley, USA Nike Ransome-Kuti, Legal Practitioner, Lagos, Nigeria Tunde Fagbenle, author, Ibadan, Nigeria Amatoritsero Ede, University of the Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas Akin Osuntokun, Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford, UK Rogers Orock, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa Ebun Sonaiya, Lagos, Nigeria Kole Odutola, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA Teju Olaniyan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA Funmi Iyanda, OYA Media, UK Stacey Vanderhurst, University of Kansas, USA Tade Ipadeola, PEN International Elke Zuern, Sarah Lawrence Ciollege, New York, USA James Yeku, University of Kansas, USA Kathryn Rhine, University of Kansas, USA Moses Ochonu, Vanderbilt University, USA Dapo Olorunyomi, Premium Times, Abuja, Nigeria Jumoke Verissimo, University of Alberta, Canada

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