Topic: Legal Practitioner Condemns DSS Court Invasion, Unlawful Detention Of Sowore, Others  (Read 3596 times)

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Legal Practitioner Condemns DSS Court Invasion, Unlawful Detention Of Sowore, Others


Convener, Coalition for Good Governance and Justice, Mr Emmanuel Umohinyang, a Lagos-based legal practitioner, has condemned the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on December 6 by operatives of the Department of State Services in an attempt to rearrest pro-democracy campaigner and journalist, Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, who was released on bail on December 5 by the DSS after spending 125 days in detention despite two court orders directing his freedom before that time, was standing trail in a case brought against him by the Nigerian Government at the court on December 6 when men of the secret police broke all protocols and invaded the temple of justice to forcefully seize him.

The 48-year-old remains in detention without being told by the DSS why he was rearrested and incarcerated.

The incident has since been widely condemned by prominent individuals and groups from around the world including the United States Department of State, high-ranking lawmakers from America, and the European Union.

Adding his voice to reject the situation, Umohinyang told SaharaReporters that there was no justification by the DSS and its agents to invade a court to rearrest Sowore.

According to him, it was a big slap on the independence and integrity of Nigeria’s judiciary for the agency to continue to disobey court orders by unlawfully keeping Sowore in detention.

Umohinyang stated that the DSS leadership was acting contrary to what he believes President Muhammadu Buhari represents by desecrating the rule of law and being a law unto itself.

The legal practitioner further stated that regardless of what word Sowore might have used in driving home his ideas, he had no plans whatsoever to cause chaos and unrest in Nigeria.

He said, “Sowore has no plan to cause violence. We may not agree with some of the utterances that he made in the past, it still does not mean that he intends to cause unrest.

“He was granted bail and I expected the DSS to respect his right to freedom as approved by the court.

“But what happened at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on December 6, was what I refer to as gangsterism at its best. It is so shameful.

“We all saw how Sowore was wrestled to the ground inside the sacred premises of the court by DSS operatives. It was an embarrassing situation that portrayed us as people that have less value for what we preach.

“Ever since the Sowore saga started, DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, has been more of an embarrassment to the agency than an asset. He has continued to dish out childish statements. Even if those statements were given to him to sign, he has a duty to reprimand those behind it that this is not going to be acceptable by Nigerians.

“It is unfortunate that under the watch of Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, the gains of the recent past seem to have been eroded.

“Those who went to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu’s court to desecrate it should be held to account.

“I do not know if what those agents did in court enjoyed his approval. If it does, it is quite unfortunate. If it doesn’t, I expect that by now heads will be rolling. I think this is just an unprofessional job carried out by some overzealous agents.”

Speaking further, Umohinyang while advising state governors to be more receptive to criticisms of their administrations by citizens, called on the National Assembly to drop ongoing moves to have hate speech and social media bill passed into law as it would cause more problems in the country.

According to him, Nigeria had enough laws to take care of those issues, adding that attempt must not be made to gag free speech – a vital ingredient of democracy.

He said, “I do not think we need a bill or a law to checkmate that (hate speech and social media), we have various laws, all we need to do is activate them.

“Trying to begin to gag people with a bill to the extent of preferring death penalty is the height of irresponsibility on the part of the lawmaker that introduced that bill.

“The case of Agba Jalingo bothers me. He was calling out the Cross River State governor for infractions that he strongly believes occurred. In civilised societies, the government would have set up an investigative panel to unravel the correctness of his allegation. Where he cannot prove such allegation, you can call him to explain why he should make such reckless comments without fact. The right thing is not to keep him in detention perpetually.

“We are seeing the same disturbing situation in Akwa Ibom where critics of the government are arrested and detained at will.

“I appeal to the Inspector-General of Police to checkmate these governors so that they do not turn their various states into police states.

“No Nigerian should have their rights violated by any individual or institution no matter how powerful they may appear.”




Original Author

SaharaReporters, New York

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Source: Legal Practitioner Condemns DSS Court Invasion, Unlawful Detention Of Sowore, Others


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