#RevolutionNow Not A Protest, It Is A Child’s Play – Adesina

 

The Presidency has reacted to the protests by members of the #RevolutionNow movement in parts of the country.

Speaking during his appearance on Sunrise Daily on Thursday, the President’s Special Adviser, Femi Adesina, dismissed the demonstration by the protesters.

“Well, was it really a protest? By my estimation, that just seemed like a child’s play because protests by their very nature are spontaneous things; they are mass things,” he said on the Channels Television’s breakfast programme.

The President’s spokesman added, “I just saw a sprinkle of people trying to be funny. As far as I am concerned, it is nothing to worry about because when you talk of a revolution, a revolution is always a mass thing.

“Not the sprinkle of young boys and girls you saw yesterday in different parts of the country. I think it was just a funny thing to call it a protest and a revolution protest.”

‘The Country We Get’

Dozens of youths had taken to strategic areas in Abuja and Lagos, among other parts of the country in protest to demand the resignation of the present administration.

Among the various issues raised, the protesters said the government has failed to tackle the security challenges in the country and provide jobs for unemployed youths.

A file photo of #RevolutionNow protesters during a demonstration in Ondo State on August 5, 2020.

 

In his reaction, Adesina insisted that there was never a revolution march and the action of the youths was a mere child’s play.

According to him, revolutions, by their nature, are quite well-known and the government has been living up to its responsibilities.

The President’s spokesman said, “Revolution is something that turns the normal order; what happened yesterday, would you call it a revolution? It was just an irritation; it was just an irritation and some people want to cause irritation in the country.”

“And what I will say is that when things boil over, they boil over because you continue to heat them. So, Nigerians need to know that the country we get is what we used our own hands to build.”

#RevolutionNow: A Failing Govt Has No Reason To Stay – Lawyer

The National President of Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum, Tope Akinyode, speaks during an interview on Sunrise Daily on August 6, 2020.

 

One of the #RevolutionNow protesters, Tope Akinyode, has accused the Nigerian government of failing to rise to the challenges of the people.

Akinyode, who is the National President of Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum, called on the present administration to resign.

He made the call during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, a day after #RevolutionNow protests held in Abuja, Lagos, and some parts of the country.

When asked if the protesters are calling for a change of government, Akinyode said, “A failing government has no reason to stay; there’s no point reinforcing failure.

“Nigerians have the right to demand the resignation of a government that has been underperforming.“

A file photo of #RevolutionNow protesters during a demonstration in Ondo State on August 5, 2020.

 

According to him, the protests involve a group of concerned youths who are exercising their fundamental rights by holding the government accountable.

 

‘Not Too Big To Ask’

The lawyer listed some of the demands of the protesters to include the creation of job employment, securing the lives and properties of the people, and improving the welfare of Nigerians.

He also decried the situation where youths in their number struggle to provide for their basic needs after graduating from various tertiary institutions.

“As it is today, there is a high level of poverty in the country, Nigeria is well-rated globally among the poorest countries of the world. There is a rise in insecurity all through the country, especially in the northern part of the country,” Akinyode said.

 

He added, “So, it has become a matter of common sense, it is a natural reaction that Nigerians would naturally engage the government and criticise the government, and disagree with the government on the poor policies of the government.

“That’s why #RevolutionNow protest has continued and that’s why it held yesterday. It is not too big to ask. … it is the fundamental rights of the citizens to make these demands.”

Reacting to the action of security operatives during the protests, the lawyer believes the government is bereft of the fundamental workings of democracy and the rule of law.

“They don’t know what protest means, they can’t appreciate it,” he said.

SERAP Condemns Attack On #RevolutionNow Protesters

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees
A logo of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has “strongly condemned reported violent attacks on #RevolutionNow protesters in Abuja, Osogbo, and other parts of the country.

SERAP said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari must end the use of excessive force against protesters, and allow people to peacefully exercise their human rights.

The Department of State Services today reportedly arrested Olawale Bakare and six other #RevolutionNow protesters wearing orange-colored caps around the Olaiya area of Osogbo, Osun State capital. Several protesters were also arrested by the police and the Nigerian Army in the Abuja metropolis.

DSS, Police Disperse #RevolutionNow Protesters in Abuja

In a statement today by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “By failing to adequately protect protesters from violent attacks, Nigerian authorities have blatantly violated their obligations under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“Nobody should be arrested or subjected to torture and ill-treatment simply for taking part in peaceful protests. The authorities should stop criminalising peaceful protesters.”

#RevolutionNow Protesters In Ondo

“Rather than suppressing peaceful protests, the authorities ought to protect peaceful protesters and ensure a safe and enabling environment for people to exercise their constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

“SERAP urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested, promptly investigate attacks on protesters, and identify security agents suspected to be responsible and bring them to justice.”

“Nigerian authorities need to take seriously the protesters’ socio-economic grievances, including by immediately taking measures to genuinely fight grand corruption, and improve access of Nigerians to basic public goods and services.”

“SERAP urges the international community including the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African Union and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to publicly condemn attacks on peaceful protests and to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to effectively investigate attacks on protesters, prosecute perpetrators and to respect and protect the human rights of everyone.”

“Nigerian constitution and human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party guarantee the rights to liberty and security of person, freedom from arbitrary detention, freedom of expression, and the right of peaceful assembly.”

“The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials prohibit the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters.”

Ondo Residents Participate In #RevolutionNow Protest

#RevolutionNow Protesters In Ondo

 

Some residents of Ondo State have taken to the streets to participate in the “RevolutionNow” protest.

The protesters mainly youths went into the major streets of Ore, the commercial centre of the Southern Senatorial district of the state with placards in their hands.

They are demanding for a better society and improved welfare for Nigerians.

The protest was peaceful but armed security operatives were present to forestall breakdown of law and order.

See Photos Below: 

#RevolutionNow: DSS, Police Disperse Protesters In Abuja

 

Security operatives on Wednesday dispersed demonstrators who were carrying out a #RevoltuionNow protest in Abuja. 

A team of security operatives including the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and the Army, pursued both protesters and journalists from the scene of the protest.

The march was a commemoration of the nationwide protest stagged by members of the #RevolutionNow movement headed by Mr. Omoyele Sowore in 2019.

Sowore, the leader of the movement, was not among the demonstrators in Abuja on Wednesday,  however, the march was led by Mr. Pelumi Olajegbensi, who called for a change in government, and insisted that there is a need for political revolution.

Mr. Olajegbensi accused the Federal Government of failing to protect Nigerians, citing insecurity, growing unemployment amongst other issues.

“There is a need for us as young people who are interested in the future of this country to raise our voices so we can be heard.

“Nigeria is currently in a state of emergency, our country has been reduced to a state of surrender; we cannot continue like this.

“Today, we are concerned as young people that a lot of our youths graduate from tertiary institutions and are unemployed because there is no job for them, this has increased the rate of crime in the country.

“Our demand today is for a conscious political revolution, a need for change in leadership,” he stressed.

Mr. Olajegbensi also called for a revamp in various sectors of the economy.

READ ALSO: SERAP Condemns Attack On #RevolutionNow Protesters

The #RevolutionNow demonstration did not hold in Abuja alone, there were protest marches in Ogun, Ondo and Osun states.

There have been several reports of persons arrested in the various states where the demonstration took place.

Channels Television gathered that about five protesters were arrested in Abeokuta within the early hours of the day, while seven people were arrested in Osogbo, however, it remains unclear how many persons were apprehended in other states.

Below are some photos from the scene of the protest in Abuja.

The arrest and manhandling of individuals who were part of the recent #RevolutionNow protest have stirred outrage all over social media.

Many persons who reacted to news of the various arrests, termed the actions of security agents, an infringement on the rights of citizens.

The arrest of protesters a violation of fundamental rights – ASCAB

The Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) says the arrest of #RevolutionNow protesters is a violation of the fundamental human rights as ethrenched in the Nigerian constitution.

The coalition led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, in a communique on Wednesday, said scores of protesters took to the streets in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Osogbo in the morning hours on Wednesday, defying heavy security presence in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja where soldiers joined the police to arrest the first set of protesters.

ASCAB said the protests were legitimate and sum up an outburst of pent up anger against the increasingly intolerant Nigerian state.

The group said the poor economic conditions of Nigerians is pushing many people to the cliff edge of frustration, pangs, and pains.

“The arrests violate the constitution of Nigeria since every citizen has the right to peaceful assembly. The protesters did not break any known law. What they did was to express their democratic rights as aggrieved citizens” ASCAB National Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) a foremost human rights lawyer said.

He praised the protesters for conducting themselves in peaceful manners without resorting to violence.

“We saw young men and women coming out to protest against injustice. This is in line with democratic tradition anywhere in the world. The arrests and violent attacks on the protesters represent a grievous violation of the constitution that the security operatives should uphold and defend” Falana said.

He called for the immediate and unconditional release of the protesters saying any attempt to continue to detain them has legal implications for the Federal Government.

Mr. Falana noted that there is no wrongdoing in having harmless youths protest and demand for an end to corruption and bad governance.

The human rights activist also said that it is within the rights of the protesters to seek the release of Sahara Publisher, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, as well as ask for the provision of palliatives for millions of extremely poor Nigerians, improvement in Nigeria-s poor health system and increase in wages for workers who are currently battered by the impact of the backlog of arrears and salaries owed by many state governments and the private sector.

Court Awards N1m Against FG For Disrupting #RevolutionNow Protest

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded N1million against the Federal Government over the disruption of August 5, 2019 #RevolutionNow protest, by security agents.

The court while hearing the case on Monday, May 4, awarded the N1million in favour of a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, who said he participated in the #RevolutionNow protest and was among those tear-gassed by security agents.

The judge agreed with Ogungbeje, who sued on behalf of himself and other participants in the protest, that the Federal Government deprived them of their right to peaceful assembly and association, in violation of sections 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Buhari Seeks International Cooperation, Assures Of Intensified Effort To Halt Community Spread


Justice Maureen Onyetenu while delivering the judgment held that the disruption of the peaceful protest by the Federal Government, through the police, was “illegal, oppressive, undemocratic and unconstitutional.”
The judge also condemned “the mass arrest, harassment, tear-gassing, and clamping into detention” of the protesters.
Apart from the N1million awarded against the Federal Government, the court also ordered the Federal Government to tender a public apology to the lawyer in three national daily newspapers.
The judge, however, upheld the defence of the DSS that it was not involved in the disruption of the protest.
The RevolutionNow Protest was convened by a presidential candidate and the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, who was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on August 3.
Ogungbeje had urged the court to award N500m as general and exemplary damages against the Federal Government, DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation, but the court only awarded N1m.
In the affidavit, which he filed in support of the suit, Ogungbeje said when he was co-opted into the #RevolutionNow protest, as a lawyer, he checked the constitution and found that it was lawful.

UPDATES: Trial Of Sowore, Bakare Resumes

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The Convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, have returned to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Both men appeared before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on Wednesday over allegations of treason and money laundering, among others.

The charges were brought against them by the Federal Government, but the duo have pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

On March 5, the government had filed a motion on notice praying the court to grant an order excluding persons other than lawyers and accredited members of the press from witnessing the proceedings.

It also sought an order to clear the court whenever the prosecution witnesses were testifying, such that only the trial judge, parties and legal representatives, as well as accredited members of the press, would be able to see them.

The prosecution had also asked for an order that the real names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses in the proceedings should not be disclosed.

At the resumed sitting, the prosecutor, Kayode Halilu, informed the court that the defence team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, served him a counter-affidavit and he needed time to reply to it.

Based on the request, Justice Ojukwu adjourned the hearing of the motion and directed the prosecutor to call his first witness in the case.

Halilu called Rasheed Olawale, a Principal Staff Officer of the Department of State Services (DSS) in charge of Surveillance and Communication Intelligence at the Lagos State Command.

The witness said Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, for allegedly planning to revolt against a democratically elected government on August 5, 2019.

He added that the defendant made ‘Revolution Now’ inscriptions on Maryland Bridge, sensitising people on the need for a revolution.

Falana, however, interjected saying the witness was giving evidence outside his original statement which was an attempt to ambush them.

He, therefore, prayed the court to restrict the witness to his written statement.

Ruling on Falana’s objection, the trial judge said the defence was entitled to all documents the prosecutor intended to rely on and not just a summary of the witness statement.

She warned that the court would not allow a situation where a witness gives 10 pages of evidence after writing a one-page statement.

According to Justice Ojukwu, this will amount to subjecting the defence to cross-examine the witness based on statements not served on them.

After listening to both counsels, the trial judge ruled that the witness cannot be allowed to depose to a four-paragraph statement and give a 10-page of evidence.

She subsequently adjourned the trial until April 1 and 2 to enable the prosecutor to reproduce the witness’ statement.

Court Adjourns Ruling On Application To Shield Witnesses In Sowore’s Trial

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned ruling on an application seeking to have witnesses shielded in the trial of the convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the adjournment on Wednesday shortly before the trial of the duo commenced in the court.

Sowore and Bakare are facing trial over treason and money laundering charges filed against them by the Federal Government.

They have, however, pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

The government had filed a motion on notice praying the court to grant an order excluding persons other than lawyers and accredited members of the press from witnessing the proceedings.

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

It also sought an order to clear the court whenever the prosecution witnesses were testifying, such that only the trial judge, parties and legal representatives, as well as accredited members of the press, would be able to see them.

The prosecution also asked for an order that the real names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses in the proceedings should not be disclosed.

At the resumed sitting, the prosecutor, Kayode Halilu, informed the court that the defence team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, served him a counter-affidavit and he needed time to reply to it.

Based on the request, the trial judge adjourned ruling on the motion and directed the prosecutor to call his first witness in the case.

Alleged Treason: Judge’s Absence Stalls Resumption Of Sowore’s Trial

Convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, at the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 30, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The trial of Convener of the #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was stalled today due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Channels Television gathered Justice Ijeoma was absent because she was sitting outside the court’s division.

The case was then adjourned till Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

READ ALSO: Borno Attack: We Must Explore All Options To Stop This Scourge – Atiku

Sowore and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are facing trial over charges of a treasonable felony for organising the revolution now protest on August 5, 2019, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.

Justice Ojukwu had earlier on December 6, 2019, adjourned the matter to the 11th, 12th and 13th of February 2020 for definite hearing.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, by the Department of State Services (DSS) and was in custody until December 24, 2019, when he was eventually released on the orders of the Attorney General of the Federation who directed the DSS to comply with the orders of the court which granted him bail.

VIDEO: Sowore Thanks Nigerians, Says Nobody Can Take Them For Granted

 

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, has thanked Nigerians following his departure from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS).

Addressing some supporters in Abuja on his way from the DSS office, Sowore believes Nigerians prevailed on the Federal Government to release him.

He also called on the people not to relent in their resolve to ensure a better Nigeria for their children and more generations to come.

“The only thing is to thank Nigerians, they made this happen they should not relent,” said the activists while exchanging pleasantries from a group of youths in the Federal Capital Territory.

He added, “Nobody can take the people who are deserving for granted. Merry Christmas to Nigerians.”

This comes hours after the Federal Government ordered the DSS to release the activist, as well as the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

After regaining his freedom, Sowore was escorted out of the Headquarters of the Service by Mr Abubakar Marshal, a lawyer from the chambers of Mr Femi Falana.

The DSS arrested Sowore, the publisher of online media outfit Sahara Reporters, on August 3.

He is standing trial alongside his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on 16 counts bordering on treasonable felony and money laundering amongst other charges.

They have since pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of N100 million and N30 million respectively.

The DSS had refused to release them on bail even after they met their bail application, forcing Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu to issue a 24-hour order for their release.

Sowore and Bakare were later released on December 5, but the Sahara Reporters publisher was rearrested barely 24 hours after by the DSS.

See photos of the Sowore’s release below:

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, celebrates as he departs the DSS office in Abuja on December 24, 2019. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, celebrates as he departs the DSS office in Abuja on December 24, 2019. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

Freedom At Last: Omoyele Sowore Leaves DSS Custody (PHOTOS)

 

 

It is freedom at last for Mr Omoyele Sowore as he departs the office of the Department of State Service (DSS) in Abuja.

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests regained his freedom from the DSS custody on the directive of the Federal Government.

He was released moments after the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami, ordered the DSS to release Sowore and the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Malami explained that the decision to release them was in compliance with the bail granted the two by the court.

Sowore was received by a group of supporters and one Mr Abubakar Marshal, a lawyer from the chambers of Mr Femi Falana.

As he departed from the DSS office, the activist chanted ‘revolution now and forever’, and wished Nigerians a Merry Christmas.

See photos of the Sowore’s release below:

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, celebrates as he departs the DSS office in Abuja on December 24, 2019. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, celebrates as he departs the DSS office in Abuja on December 24, 2019. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

Malami Cannot Wash His Hands Off Sowore’s Detention, Says Falana

 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has insisted that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, cannot wash his hands off with respect to the illegal detention of Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) contrary to an earlier position.

Mr. Malami In a statement on Monday said that the Federal Government is guided by extant laws and tradition of the law in handling legal matters and related litigations.

In response, Mr Falana who is the legal representative of Mr Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement, stressed that since Mr Malami took over the criminal case from the DSS, he is deemed to possess “the constitutional powers in full and the responsibility for any decision thereupon rests solely on him.”

RELATED: Falana Writes AGF, Requests Sowore’s Release

Sowore: FG Will Not Take Unilateral Decision – Malami

Mr Falana who had written to the AGF, to direct the DSS to release Sowore on bail, in compliance with the order of the trial judge, the Honourable Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu, stated that Mr Malami needs to take cognizance of the legal implications of taking over a pending criminal case in exercise of the powers of an Attorney-General under the common law and the Constitution.

“Since Mr. Malami has taken over the case of FRN v Sowore v Another he is deemed to possess “the constitutional powers in full and the responsibility for any decision thereupon rests solely on him. Therefore, he cannot like Pontius Pilate wash off his hands with respect to the illegal detention of Sowore by the State Security Service.

“Furthermore, since section 287 of the Constitution has imposed a legal obligation on all authorities and persons in Nigeria to comply with the decisions of all competent courts the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Malami is duty-bound to direct the State Security Service to release Sowore on bail in compliance with the valid and subsisting order of the federal high court.”

While quoting the AGF in his response, Mr. Falana reiterated and called for the release of Mr Sowore.

“In the said statement the Attorney-General stated that ‘When parties submit their issues for determination to a court of law, they lack exclusivity of decision over such issues without recourse to the court. We remain guided by the established tradition and will not take a unilateral decision without recourse to the rule of law’.

“We fully agree with the Attorney-General because he has stated the law correctly.  On the basis of the legal principle, we are compelled to call on the Attorney-General to reverse the “unilateral decision” of the State Security Service to continue to incarcerate Sowore ‘without recourse to law’.

“Having taken over the prosecution of the case pursuant to section 174 of the Constitution the Attorney-General should not hesitate to direct the State Security Service to release Sowore without any further delay.”