Sowore was not arrested as a journalist but for calling for a revolution- Presidency clarifies
SSA to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu
The Presidency has insisted that the Muhammadu Buhari administration will not allow any individual or group to incite the public.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated this in a Facebook post on Wednesday while clarifying the controversy trailing the arrest of Mr Omoyele Sowore.
Shehu stressed that Sowore, the publisher of online news platform Sahara Reporters, was not arrested as a journalist but for calling for a revolution.
According to him, some international news outlets have been making mistake by describing the release of the #RevolutionNow movement convener as that of a journalist.
The presidential aide said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Buhari administration has never, since coming into office in 2015, detained a journalist, seized copies of newspapers or shut down a medium of information.”“No government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilisation in the country and do nothing.
“The government believes strictly in observing the rule of law but must safeguard public security and will not allow troublemakers to incite the public and cause a breakdown of law and order,” he added.
The president’s spokesman accused the activist of calling for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.
Sowore, according to him, did so on television and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely-read digital newspaper run from the United States.
“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,” Shehu alleged.
He made the clarification a day after the Sahara Reporters publisher left the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) after being held for almost five months.
The DSS released Sowore on Tuesday following the directive of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Malami gave the directive for Sowore’s release, as well as that of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), who has spent over four years in DSS custody.
The DSS arrested Sowore, the publisher of online media outfit Sahara Reporters, on August 3.
Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are standing trial on a 16-count 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 Sowore was rearrested barely 24 hours after by the DSS.