Nigeria: I'm Afraid for My Husband's Life - Sowore's Wife

Omoyele Sowore was rearrested in court by agents from the Department of State Security (DSS) the day after he was released on court order.
8 December 2019

The wife of detained activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, in a press briefing in the U.S. on Friday said she is afraid for her husband's life.

She also said she fears that her husband, who was rearrested when security officials invaded a court premises in Abuja, might be in great danger unless the U.S. government intervenes.

Mr Sowore, who in August called for a nationwide #RevolutionNow protest to demand a better Nigeria, had initially been held by the SSS for 125 days in spite of two court orders to release him. He was detained alongside a student and activist, Olawale Bakare.

The SSS finally released the duo December 4, after an express Abuja high court order for them to be released within 24 hours, only for the outfit, a secret security arm directly under the president, to rearrest Mr Sowore the next day having invaded the same court premises.

Although the SSS has denied this invasion, journalists who were at the court said armed agents entered the courtroom as the judge, lawyers and journalists scurried for cover.

Mrs Sowore called her husband's arrest a show of lawlessness and a gross disregard for the rule of law.

"After over 125 days of my husband being in detention illegally, he was finally set free yesterday," she narrated. "He got to speak to myself and the children. For the first time we got to see his eyes when we spoke to him."

"I haven't told them yet that he was rearrested. I was truly shaken to my core what I witnessed this morning. I was woken up by 4 a.m. what I call truly outrageous and a gross disregard for the rule of law," she added, this time with a distraught mien on her face.

"My husband was strangled and forcefully removed from the courtroom. The judge had to run and hide for her own safety. How do I tell my children who, after 125 days, have for the very first time spoken to their dad and seen his face that he is again in detention and he may not be coming home for Christmas? How do they understand this? Where do they go from here?"

"My 10-year-old (son), one of the things he wants for Christmas is for his dad to be home for Christmas. Christmas is only a few days away. What do I tell him when I leave here and get home?" she asked amidst sobs.

"I'm truly afraid for his life and at this point, I believe the only way to bring him home is with the help of the United States."

Also speaking at the press briefing was the convener of the press briefing, Robert Menendez, a U.S lawmaker and the ranking member (most senior Democrat) of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the United States.

He said Nigeria's bilateral relationship with the United States would be reassessed if President Muhammadu Buhari continues to lose touch of what is happening in a security outfit under him.

Earlier this month, Mr Sowore's mother, Esther Sowore, had also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to respect court orders by releasing her son.

"Since I gave birth to him, he always speaks against evil. Even in the village, before he went to school in Lagos, he has always been like that. He is not a criminal, release Sowore now. Please release my son because you have your own son, you take care of your son, let me take care of my children.

"I am a widow, release my son. I cannot eat, I cannot sleep and it is affecting my health. Please release Omoyele Sowore, my son. He is not a criminal. Omoyele is not a criminal, leave him," she said.

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