Nigeria: Why DSS Is After Sowore - Presidency

9 December 2019

The Presidency yesterday explained that detained activist Omoyele Sowore's words and actions ordinarily made him a person of interest to the Department of State Services.

The Presidency noted that the DSS did not necessarily need its permission in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities laid down in the Nigerian constitution.

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday, was reacting to the Friday's purported re-arrest of Sowore, the convener of the RevolutionNow protest, in a courtroom by the operatives of the DSS.

Shehu said it should not surprise anyone who had followed his actions and words that Sowore "is a person of interest to the DSS."

He recalled that Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria on television and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely read digital newspaper run from the United States of America.

Shehu said Sowore also founded an organisation, Revolution Now, to launch, "Days of Rage", with the publicised purpose of fomenting mass civil unrest and the elected administration's overthrow.

Shehu, who said no government would allow anybody to "openly" call for destabilization in the country and do nothing, said: "Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet as he was a presidential candidate himself 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."

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