CACOL condemns DSS's clampdown on 'Free Sowore' protesters

Debo Adeniran

Debo Adeniran, Executive Director, CACOL

Debo Adeniran, Executive Director, CACOL

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has decried the clampdown on some protesters of ‘Free Sowore Now’ group who were at the National Headquarters of the Department of State Services (DSS) at 3Arms Zones, Garki, Abuja on Wednesday.

In a release by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news on the repression and teargasing of some Nigerians who were at the State Security Service (SSS) headquarters yesterday to receive their leader, Mr. Sowore Omoyele, who has been in DSS custody for over three (3) months over an allegation that borders on treasonable felony and ‘cyber stalking’.

“For the umpteenth time, we are reiterating our position of disappointment over the arrest of Sowore just on the basis of publicly decrying the socioeconomic situation in the country and for calling on far reaching reforms that could give necessary reliefs to majority Nigerians. This is because, felonious offences like treason or treasonable felony goes beyond mere mouthing of the word ‘Revolution’, especially in a democracy where people should exercise their rights of expression and opinions, even if suspected to be malicious.

“The only option left to any aggrieved party in such circumstance was a resort to court action if such statements are found malicious or derogatory to the aggrieved party, irrespective of how highly placed.

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“It is therefore tantamount to adding salt to a wound, where such wrongfully incarcerated was given the benefits of bail by a judge of competent court of jurisdiction which an agency of government (SSS, in this instance) is willfully and recklessly refusing to obey by any means possible, contrary to the rule of law and known tenets of democratic order.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the rights to protest, associate and assemble for either individual or collective interests is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined and recognized by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), once they are not effected under any violence or coercion. These rights are not qualified or deflated by place or location, especially where such location is a public space like the Secret Police headquarters in Abuja or even the state house itself”, Adeniran said.

The CACOL Boss added, “While we are using this medium to advise the DSS and other Nigerian security apparatus to be rightly and correctly guided of their operations, nuances and limitations under a democracy, so as not to resort to any arm-twisting or repressive attitudes over legitimate and peaceful agitations under any guise, we insist that the judicial order instructing on the immediate release of Mr. Omoyele Sowore should be obeyed immediately without further resort to any hoodwinking or procrastination. As veritable stakeholders in the Nigerian project, the DSS as an agent of the Executive, judiciary and other arms of government must at all times, be seen to operate within the ambit of the rule of law and Separation of power, without which the state and the general public descend into an Hobbesian state of Nature.”