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Sowore’s Arrest, Gross Failure Of Intelligence – Inibehe Effiong

Inibehe Effiong, counsel to Omoyele Sowore, the lead organiser of #RevolutionNow protest, says the DSS crossed the red line by arresting Sowore. Excerpt…

Counsel to Omoyele Sowore, Inibehe Effiong, says the call for Sowore’s prosecution is premised on bigotry and has no basis in law / Photo credit: dailypost.ng
Counsel to Omoyele Sowore, Inibehe Effiong, says the call for Sowore’s prosecution is premised on bigotry and has no basis in law / Photo credit: dailypost.ng

The DSS said Omoyele Sowore crossed the red line by tagging a protest RevolutionNow, don’t you also think the theme of the protest was out of place?

It is the DSS that crossed the red line by inventing an imaginary case of treason and treasonable felony which is fictional and does not exist.

The basis for which Sowore was arrested is legally untenable and morally preposterous. If you are arresting a person because he said by tomorrow there would be no more DSS, I find that funny.

In the first place, if you watch the video where Sowore spoke with Eedris Abdulkareem, what he said was basically a reported speech.

He was telling Eedris what one of the state chairmen of AAC told him.

He said one of the state chairmen called him to report that he was invited by the DSS regarding the protest in that state.

And the person said that he replied them that there would be no DSS tomorrow. So he was basically relaying to Eedris what somebody told him.

It was a reported speech. But beyond that, looking at the substance of the statement, even if it was Sowore who said it, does not amount to treasonable felony?

For me, this is a gross failure of intelligence. It shows how incompetent the State Security Service is that they have to rely on social media comment to form an opinion that someone wants to take over the government.

We are demanding political reforms, end to insecurity, payment of national minimum wage, end to estimated billing, free and quality education

But the police said using the word ‘Revolution’ is treasonable…

They said we are using the word Revolution and I feel that is an insult to intelligent people in the country because there is not hard rule about the word revolution.

There is nothing magical or strange about the use of the word revolution.

We have various forms of revolution; we have technological revolution, economic revolution.

Even the government once claimed they were pursuing a rice revolution. Revolution can be in different ways.

So if we are calling for revolution in this country, what we are calling for is radical change. And what should an intelligent person do when we say revolution?

It is for them to look at what we mean when we are saying we are calling for revolution. We have clearly articulated our demands, which have been publicised and made known to Nigerians before Sowore was arrested.

We are demanding political reforms, end to insecurity, payment of national minimum wage, end to estimated billing, free and quality education. How does it amount to treason and treasonable felony?

For DSS to arrest Sowore was unnecessary and for them to deploy state power to attack and repel us in the name of fighting insurrection is an embarrassment to Nigeria and portrays Nigeria as a country led by people who do not know their right from left.

Yesterday’s RevolutionNow protest was met with crackdown by Nigerian Police and some protesters were arrested. What are you doing to get them released?

Well, we are coordinating efforts across the country to secure their release.

I am aware that in some of the states, the matter is going to court today, protesters are being charged to court today.

For example I can confirm to you that in Lagos the nine persons who were arrested are being taking to court today and I am going to meet them in court today. We are going to deploy all legal options to secure their release.

The clampdown on us yesterday does not mean we are retreating from our struggle. The struggle is going to continue as long as the demands we have made are not met

Some are concerned about the well-being of Sowore; have you seen or met him since he was arrested?

As at yesterday, when we established a direct contact with him, Sowore was in high spirit.

He is not bothered by the arrest. He understands what is going on. He is a veteran of the struggle. He was arrested by several military dictators.

I don’t think he would be demoralised in any way. He appreciates the commitment of Nigerians to this cause and gave the assurance that the battle cannot be lost and the struggle will continue.

Sowore is fine and we are doing everything legally possible to secure his release.

Will the protest continue seeing what happened yesterday?

What I will tell you is that we are reviewing our action. The clampdown on us yesterday does not mean we are retreating from our struggle.

The struggle is going to continue as long as the demands we have made are not met. We are not going to stop protesting until Sowore and all other arrested members are released and all trumped up charges are dropped.

This is our country. We are going to fight for it. It is a shame that we are seeing a replay of 1984.

What I witnessed yesterday was basically the ghost of Sani Abacha. We have a president who is afflicted by the spirit of dictatorship and that manifested in the happened yesterday.

In a country where you have herdsmen killing across the country, kidnappers are having a free day, bandits going on rampage, and we have not deployed this same state power to quell these menace.

But deployed security agents to attack peaceful protesters in the name of fighting insurrection, I feel that Nigerians are being insulted by this government.

This is not about Sowore now. The basis for which this protest is staged is general to us.

The issues we are talking about are not personal to Sowore. So I feel the time has come for Nigerians to demand accountability from the government.

The basis for which this protest is staged is general to us. The issues we are talking about are not personal to Sowore. So I feel the time has come for Nigerians to demand accountability from the government

What about Nigerians calling for Sowore’s prosecution?

Such call is founded on ignorance.

It is a call premised on bigotry and sentiment and has no basis either in law, morality or logic.

We are not worried about this call. We understand the government is panicking. We understand its supporters are panicking.

This is a government that has failed in all aspects.

Economically, Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world. Politically, we have a president that is totally inept.

He is appointing a committee to assign portfolios to ministers.

This is a man that is intellectually exhausted. Nigeria is basically on her kneels.

We have never been this divided in this country. There is complete failure of leadership in the country.

So for some persons to say Sowore should be charged for treason is because we are speaking truth to power is the height of insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians.

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