The Presidency says the Department of State Services does not necessarily need the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest persons of interest like a detained activist, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
This is according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu.
In the statement, the president’s aide noted that the DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the Presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian Constitution – which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in our country in 1999.
Mr. Shehu further stated that it should not surprise anyone who has followed Sowore’s actions and words that the Sahara Reporters Publisher is a person of interest to the DSS.
He said Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.
“He did so on television, and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely-read digital newspaper run from the United States of America.
“He founded an organisation, Revolution Now, to launch, in their own words, “Days of Rage”, with the publicised purpose of fomenting mass civil unrest and the elected administration’s overthrow,” Garba Shehu said.
The President’s spokesman argued that no government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilization in the country and do nothing.
He further stressed that Mr. Sowore is no ordinary citizen expressing his views freely on social media and the internet.
“He was a presidential candidate himself, who ran – and lost – as the flag bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 23 general elections.”
The presidency via its spokesman noted that Nigeria’s democracy was a long time in the making and was achieved after decades of often harsh, military-led overthrows of government: the kind of situation which he claims Mr. Sowore was advocating.
He said, “To believe in and desire an armed revolution is not normal amongst ‘human rights activists’, as Sowore has been incorrectly described.
“Again, it is no surprise that he should be a person of interest to the DSS.
“Nigeria is already dealing with an insurgency that has left millions of people displaced and desperate in the northeastern region of our country.
“The Boko Haram militants, who are behind the violence, also fancy themselves to be fighting for some sort of revolution.
“Nigerians do not need another spate of lawlessness and loss of lives all in the name of ‘revolution’, especially not one that is orchestrated by a man who makes his home in faraway New York – and who can easily disappear and leave behind whatever instability he intends to cause, to wit, Nnamdi Kanu.”
Mr. Shehu in his concluding argument said the Sowore case is a matter for the DSS, acting under its powers.