Infamous for her occasional outburst against critics of president Buhari, Loretta Onochie, an aide of the president said the court arrest was planned” by the journalist’s “Boys and girls” that staged his supposed re-arrest to make the country’s secret police look bad
“So it was a stage-managed drama in the court yesterday,” Onochie said in a Facebook post. “Sowore pinned down by his supporters in a courtroom in order to give DSS a bad name.”
Onochie did not present evidence to prove that Sowore faked his arrest.
In a video shared by his Sahara Reporters, Sowore was seen being dragged by several men in an Abuja courtroom. Sahara Reporters said some of the men in the video were operatives of the Department of State Services.
The DSS, which accused Sowore of planning to change the government through unlawful means is yet to deny arresting him hours after he was released on Thursday night.
“All that is needed for a #Revolution is for the oppressed to choose a date they desire for liberty, not subjected to the approval of the oppressor,” he wrote Twitter on 2 August.
His lawyer Femi Falana said DSS told him the Sahara Reporters’ publisher was needed for questioning on Friday and would be released later in the day.
He accused the secret police of “gangsterism”.
“I can assure you what is happening now will not go away unchallenged,” Falana said.
“We either run this country on the platform of the rule of law or we resort to gangsterism which is what is going on.”
But Nigerian authorities have been less respectful of court orders in this case and in many orders.
Earlier court orders for Sowore’s release was not carried out by the secret police. On one occasion, the DSS said it could only release him to his lawyers.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association on Friday condemned the disruption of the proceedings presided over by Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja by the operatives of the Department of State Service in their bid to re-arrest the convener of ‘Revolution Now’ protest, Omoyele Sowore.
The NBA, in a statement issued on its behalf by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kunle Edun called for the immediate suspension of the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, over what it described as “the disgraceful and crass violation of the hallowed precincts of the law by the officers of the Department of State Services”.
This was part of the four-point demand of the NBA in the aftermath of the Friday’s invasion of the court by DSS operatives, which caused the judge to flee her court abruptly.
Bichi’s predecessor, Lawal Daura, was in August 2018 dismissed by then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, for authorising an illegal invasion of the National Assembly by some masked operatives of the DSS.
Apart from calling for Bichi’s suspension, the NBA also demanded that the “Federal Government of Nigeria and the National Assembly immediately investigate the shameful conduct by the DSS and ensure that all persons found culpable are duly punished in accordance with the law.”
Demanding the incumbent DG’s suspension, NBA said it was necessary considering the fact that “the DSS under his leadership has established itself as a brutish and irresponsible agency that derives immense pleasure from violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and disrespecting court orders”.
The association also demanded “that the National Assembly should review the laws setting up the DSS and indeed all security agencies in Nigeria with a view to repositioning them to be more responsible and responsive to the public”.
It also demanded that the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, “being the chief law officer of the federation takes over all the political cases or cases involving politically exposed persons presently handled by the DSS”.