Police, Protesters In Heated Brawls As #Revolution Now Protest Holds Across Nigeria

 

Police and members of the #RevolutionNow Movement on Thursday were involved in heated brawls following a nationwide protest staged by the group. 

The group mainly made up of young persons staged a protest in various states and at the Federal Capital Territory where they went to the United States Embassy expressing their disapproval of the nation’s security situation and the socio-economic crisis.

At the US Consulate in Abuja, they demanded the resignation of the President Muhammadu Buhari, arguing that the present administration has not effectively tackled the issues of insecurity, hunger, and corruption in the country.

Under the leadership of their convener, Omoyele Sowore, members of the movement wielded a big banner with the inscription, ‘Buhari has failed,’ and other placards which read, ‘Failed leadership has made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world,’ and ‘#RevolutionNow’.

Joining the protest in Abuja were #BringBackOurGirls activist, Aisha Yesufu, Ariyo Dare-Atoye, Henry Shield, Adebayo Raphael, Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians, among others.

Together, the protesters berated the government, claiming that the present administration has failed to live up to the promises made to Nigerians.

Police Inspector brutalize journalist, Commissioner reacts

While the protest in Abuja was seemingly hitch-free, the protest in Lagos was met with stiff opposition from the Nigerian Police force, resulting in the brutalization of a journalist.

Men of the police force are said to have attacked Mr. Olukayode Jaiyeola, a Punch photojournalist who was covering the protest stages within the Maryland area of the metropolis.

A police inspector, Mr. Innocent Adadu, used a baton on Jaiyeola’s head causing him to collapse immediately, with blood gushing out of his fractured skull.

Reacting to the development, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, ordered the immediate detention of the inspector who is attached to PMF 22 Ikeja.

The commissioner ordered that Inspector Adadu be tried in order to serve as a deterrent to others who are fond of engaging in unprofessional and unethical conduct.

Channels Television learned the commissioner rushed to the scene and personally moved the injured journalist to the Police Hospital.

While waiting to ensure that the injured journalist was given immediate and best medical treatment, the police boss cut-off all other engagements to stay throughout the journalist’s treatment and subsequent discharge.

Many injured, dozens arrested?

There are claims that beyond the case of the journalist who was severely beaten, many members of the Revolution Now Group who protested on Thursday were injured and dozens were arrested across the country.

In Lagos alone, there are reports suggesting that over 30 persons were arrested, a situation which has stirred another round of protests all over social media.

The reports from Ibadan, Osogbo, Taraba, Benue, Kano, and other states where the protest held, were all the same. Protesters were harassed by security operatives with many getting beat up while others were arrested.

Reacting to the situation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in a series of tweets called on the international community and the United Nations Human Rights Office to publicly condemn what it termed ‘violations’.

SERAP also asked the international bodies to hold Nigerian authorities to account for systematic violations of human rights including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.


Earlier in the week, the Coalition for Revolution (CORE), the organisers of the #RevolutionNow protest announced plans to hold a mass action against poor governance in Nigeria.

According to CORE, the protest scheduled for October 1st was a demonstration to demand the reversal of “anti-people policies implemented by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.”

In its statement on the matter, CORE stated that “These harsh policies that have bored a burdensome hole into the pockets of the Nigerian people are coming at a time when citizens are recovering from the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global health crisis that was also mismanaged by the Buhari’s government further plunging already struggling citizens into deeper financial problems.

“It also comes at a time when there is an unprecedented dictatorial-style crackdown on free speech, dissent, activism, journalism, and the right to associate and congregate peacefully and protest.”

The group demanded amongst other things the reversal of the hike in the price of petrol from N148 to N151, an end to “state-supervised and approved impunity under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari” and the sacking of all service chiefs in the country due to their “proven incompetence in finding a lasting solution to the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed and is still claiming the life of Nigerians daily.”

Following the cancellation of the Independence Day parade and a ban on gatherings of more than 50 persons by the Lagos State Government, the police had warned against people gathering in the state for protests and rallies.

However, the organisers of the #RevolutionNow protest insisted they will hold the mass action, a stand which led the police to storm the rally venues in a bid to disperse the gathering.

On August 5, 2019, the #RevolutionNow protest was first staged and the second edition on the same date this year, held across major cities in the country.

The rather peaceful demonstrations have been met with a clampdown by security operatives, resulting in arrests and incarceration of many protesters.

Sowore’s Rearrest: US Govt Calls For Respect For Rule Of Law

 

The United States government has expressed concerns over the rearrest of the convener of the ‘Revolution Now’ movement and former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Mr. Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) on Friday.

Mr. Sowore was rearrested and eventually detained barely 24 hours after the security agency had released him following a 24-hour ultimatum issued by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

His rearrest has sparked widespread reactions, even as his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, has called for the release of Mr. Sowore who has been granted bail by the court.

READ ALSO: DSS Says Only Sowore Was Rearrested, Gives Reason

In a tweet, the US State Department urged the Nigerian Government to respect the rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom. Adding that due process should be the tenets of democracy.

Meanwhile, the DSS in reaction to Mr. Sowore’s rearrest and detention, said that that he is facing trial, not as an activist, journalist or politician.

It said Sowore was taken into custody for allegedly resorting to calling for violence, a forceful takeover of government, and suspected transnational illegal activities.

DSS Releases Sowore, Bakare

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has released the convener of the Revolution Now protest, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.

They were released at exactly 7:15 pm on Thursday, hours after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had expressed displeasure over their continued detention by the agency.

Subsequently, Ojukwu ordered that the defendants be released within the next 24 hours and adjourned the case till Friday, December 6, for a report of compliance.

 


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However, before the expiration of the order, they were both released to their lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, whom the agency had earlier said was not the right person to release the defendants to.

According to a lawyer in Falana’s chambers, Marshal Abubakar, the defendants were released at 7.15 pm on Thursday.

It would be recalled that the DSS lawyer, Hassan Liman (SAN) had assured journalists shortly after the court session on Thursday morning that his client would comply with the order of the court.

 

 

“I want to say once again that the DSS has not at any time refused or failed to comply with the court order. What we have done today is to go a step further to say that the DSS no longer wants Mr. Sowore in their custody,” Liman had said.

“Definitely when somebody is granted bail he will be released to the main person that has served as his surety. Nobody, I repeat has gone to the DSS to take Mr. Sowore and co. on bail.

“The court has made an order to release them forthwith. But the DSS has not at anytime, refused to comply with court order. And that is why the DSS filed an application today that they no longer want them in their custody.

“The court has adjourned till tomorrow for us to report whether or not that order has been complied with. But I still say there has not been any violation of court order. He will be released definitely.

“In terms of court order and the conditions of bail, when you come tomorrow you will know if that has been complied with. I still say there has not been any violation of court order”.

Sowore, who is the Publisher of the online news platform, Sahara Reporters, and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 elections, was arrested on August 3 – just days to a planned protest against “bad governance” in the country.

Consequently, both him and his co-defendant are facing seven counts bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, money laundering and cybercrimes, amongst others.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail on October 4, in the sum of N100m and N50m respectively with two sureties in like sum.

They, however, were not released until today.

PHOTOS: #TakeItBack Campaigners Ask FG To Release Sowore, Others

 

Some members of the ‘Take It Back’ campaign on Wednesday asked the Federal Government to release Mr Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 Presidential Election. 

The group members who carried placards marched to the Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa, demanding the immediate freedom of other members of the Revolution Now protest arrested by State Security Service.

Although they were initially received by a senior official at the embassy, they, however, insisted on seeing the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabir Bala.

READ ALSO: Nigerians In South Africa Demand Release Of Sowore, Others

Speaking to Channels Television, the group’s Coordinator, Doris Ikeri-Solarin, said members are not happy with happenings in the country, urging the envoy to relay the message to the Federal Government.

See photos below:

 

Nigerians In South Africa Demand Release Of Sowore, Others

 

Some Nigerians residing in South Africa on Wednesday protested the arrest of a former presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Omoyele Sowore and other members of the Revolution Now protest who were arrested by State Security Service.

The protesters under the auspices of ‘Take It Back’ took to the nation’s High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital demanding among other things, a better governed Nigeria, better security, safety for Nigerians in the diaspora.

The aggrieved protesters who were initially received by a senior official in the embassy insisted on seeing the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabir Bala.

According to the group’s Coordinator, Doris Ikeri-Solarin, members are not happy with happenings in the country, urging the envoy to relay the message to the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: Buhari Should Urgently Release All Political Prisoners – PDP

“As Nigerians resident in South Africa, we are moved to come to you as our father and representative here to pass our message across back home that we are bitter and not happy with the situation that is going home in Nigeria.

“On a final note sir, we demand that the Federal Government releases Omoyele Sowore and our comrades,” she said.

While renewing the group’s commitment to supporting the South African laws, Ikeri-Solarin asked the government to investigate every crime and make those found guilty to face the wrath of the law.

“Any individual who is found wanting must face the law. We are standing in support of the South African Government that it must investigate every crime that is committed on this land. And we are ready to support every judgment passed whoever is at fault,” she said.

After listening to the protesters, Ambassador Bala encouraged them to be law-abiding at all times.

The Ambassador renewed the Federal Government’s commitment to addressing their issues raised, stressing that there is a need to be patient and cooperative.

“There is no way the government will achieve its own objectives of making your life, my life and the lives of future generations better if we don’t cooperate and also do it peacefully, cogently and to put forward what it is for us.

“Yes, what you have given me, I have taken and I will also pass it unto them. We will not want the South Africans to go to Nigeria and violate our laws. We will not accept that,” he said.

Bala urged the protesters to obey the laws of the country there are living – South Africa.

According to him, as much as reciprocity is the foundation of diplomacy, a situation where a Nigerian will violate the laws of South Africa will not be acceptable.

Police Arraign Six ‘Revolution Now’ Protesters

 

The Lagos State Criminal Intelligence and Information Department (SCIID) Panti has arraigned six persons who allegedly took part in Monday’s protests convened by the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.

The six protesters were arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Magistrates’ Court, Lagos on Tuesday on two counts of unlawful assembly and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.

One of the six protesters is a 51-year-old lawyer, Mr Gabriel Ojumah.

READ ALSO: El-Zakzaky: I Hope Other Court Orders Would Also Be Complied With – Falana

After filing a bail application, the Chief Magistrate admitted Ojumah to bail on self-recognizance and the other five defendants to N100,000 bail each with two sureties in the like sum.

Further proceedings have been adjourned till September, 26.