There was a lot of drama on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja as the Department of State Services (DSS) rearrested Revolution Now Convener, Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare, barely 24 hours after they were released from custody.
They were rearrested on the grounds on fresh charges being filed against them, it was gathered. Sowore alleged an attempt was made on his life as men of the DSS put him in a chokehold. Sowore and Bakare’s appearance in court on Friday was a resumption of their trial over charges of treasonable felony for organizing the Revolution Now protest, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.
He was arrested on August 3, 2019 and despite a federal high court order for them to be released on bail, the DSS, who acknowledged receipt of the order early November, had still kept them in custody, their reason being that the appropriate sureties had not come for them. Sowore again said they were unaware of any fresh charges and the attempt was a sign of a tyranny of the Federal Government.
“We had concluded the process and when we were leaving, one of the SSS officers came to me and said we have to come with them and I said we are still in court and we have been granted bail. It is not even 24 hours yet. Why can’t you wait and of course, all hell was let loose. They pulled out their guns within the courts, put me in a chokehold and tried to kill me inside the court. If it was not for this Nigerians who were surrounding me, I would probably be dead. We are not aware of why they are arresting us again. I left them yesterday. I have been there for 126 days, they did not tell me if they were new charges, because these charges that they filed, they could not sustain it. We have been hearing that they did not want me to come out but for Nigerians, who massively engaged within and outside the social media circle to ensure justice is done.
“What people are saying is that we have a right to live in this country. We have a right to speak freely and associate and we have demonstrated that by coming to court. The claim that I would run away if I was granted bail, I was granted bail last night and I came here voluntarily accompanied by my lawyer. When we even got outside, they had their own protesters and I said that is the beauty of democracy.
“Nigerians at this point it is important to let you know that there is no reason to be afraid. The most powerful tool in the hands of oppressors is fear mongering. To scare people to thinking, if we do this to Sowore, nobody else would ever challenge government. I am not new to this. I was a student leader in the 90s. I fought against the military rule. I gave fought against successive military and civilian leaders in this country who have tried to trample on the rights and violate the integrity and dignity of our people and even their own constitution. The constitution they drafted ad swore to uphold. I have never been afraid.
“This would require a lot of sacrifices. We have shown the other side of government you didn’t know that these guys have no pretension for democracy or respect for human rights. And I am speaking to the rest of the world as well that it is time to focus on Nigeria. Nigeria has slipped back into total fascism and we have a tyrannical regime fully entrenched. Even under the military nobody ever entered a courtroom and tried to shoot a suspect and scare a judge. This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that it is happening at the Federal High Court level.
“Lawlessness we have tolerated over time that has led us to the abyss that we are in today. Someone has to do it and I have volunteered to do it. And many of you have volunteered to join me and I am inspired by all of you. The heroes of today’s temporary relief that I have to speak with you are the men surrounding me, some of them lawyers, who took of their gowns and wigs and said no tyranny inside the sacred confines of a federal high court. So that is the latest for now. I remain unshaken, unbroken and unbowed,” Sowore said.
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