“Beyond the word ‘revolution, another much misused and misunderstood word, nothing that Sowore has uttered, written, or advocated suggests that he is embarking on, or urging the public to engage in a forceful overthrow of government,” Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has said condemning the arrest of Mr. Omoyele Sowore by the Department State Services (DSS) on Saturday.
Mr. Sowore, a presidential candidate in the last election, was arrested on Saturday for calling for a revolution against poor governance.
Soyinka in a statement on Sunday said: ‘How often must we go through this wearisome cycle? We underwent identical cynical contrivances under the late, unlamented Sani Abacha when he sent storm-troopers to disrupt a planning session for a similar across-nation march at Tai Solarin School, Ikenne.
This was followed up by a personalized letter that was hand-delivered by the State Security Services to me under their summons, at their Abeokuta so-called ‘Annexe’ with near-identical wording to the threats contained in today’s release from the desk of the Chief of Police.
At least, I was summoned, not subjected to a terrorist midnight arrest. Some irony!’ Soyinka said ‘Deployment of alarmist expressions such as “treason”, “anarchist”, “public incitement”, etc., by security forces has become so predictable and banal that they have become meaningless. Beyond the word ‘revolution, another much misused and misunderstood word, nothing that Sowore has uttered, written, or advocated suggests that he is embarking on, or urging the public to engage in a forceful overthrow of the government.
Nothing that he said to me in private engagement ever remotely approached an intent to destabilize governance or bypass the normal democratic means of changing a government.
I, therefore, find the reasons given by the Inspector-General, for the arrest and detention of this young ex-presidential candidate totally contrived and untenable, unsupported by any shred of evidence.
His arrest is a travesty and violation of the fundamental rights of citizens to congregate and make public their concerns. ‘This is all so sadly déjàvu. How often must we go through this wearisome cycle? We underwent identical cynical contrivances under the late, unlamented Sani Abacha when he sent storm-troopers to disrupt a planning session for a similar across-nation march at Tai Solarin School, Ikenne.
‘The same pattern Pavlovian conduct manifested itself under yet another supposed democratic ruler who personally declared that the gathering of civilians to deliberate on and propose a constitution for the nation was ‘high treason’, and would be resisted by the full rigor of state power if we persisted.
The Inspector-General of Police mobilized his forces and issued inflammatory proclamations, but PRONACO went ahead despite all the thundering from Aso citadel. Can the police ever learn anything also their tear-gassing and brutalizing of grieving mothers who marched peacefully to protest the deaths of their children in a plane crash inferno? Their mission, under that same regime, which was simply to deliver a letter to the government house in Lagos, demanding greater safety in airline operations, yet such a rational intent, born of traumatic circumstances, was quashed on the sidewalks of a supposed twentieth-century nation.
‘And yet again, even a faceless cabal under yet another civilian regime refused to be left out of the insensate play of power. A march on Aso Rock calling for an end to governance by a ghostly entity was slated to be crushed, but fortunately, a conflicting balance of interests decided in favour of a reduced trajectory of protest.
And so on and on and on, in a nation which continues to speak at once through both sides of the mouth, spewing out the same Treason monotone, as if this was a magic incantation that could substitute for the venting of mass feelings, even as collective therapy!
‘May I invite the Inspector-General to wade through the daily journals of the past few weeks and months, read and digest the calls by numerous sectors of society –across professions and national groupings – for demonstrations against the parlous conditions of society, all identifying ills to which attention must be drawn, and urgently, through mass action?
Demonstrations and processions are time honoured, democratic ways of drawing not only the attention of the government to ills, but of mobilizing the public towards a proactive consciousness of their condition, and thereby exhorting civil society also to devise means of ameliorating their condition through their own efforts? Religious bodies have urged such remedies, so have civic associations.
The ready recourse to arrests, incarceration, and threats to civilians are ultimately counter-productive. They alienate the citizens, erode their confidence in governance responsiveness, and thereby advance the very extremist nightmare that security agencies believe they are acting to thwart.
‘If we cannot learn from the histories and experiences of other societies, let us at least learn from ours. Freedom is not so glibly qualified. It cannot be doled out like slops of charity from soup kitchens.
Let the Police stick to their task of protecting and managing protests, not attempt to place their own meaning and declaration of intent on bogey words like – revolution!
North Has No Justification To Remain In Power, Presidency Should Go To The South After Buhari —- El-Rufai
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has insisted that the North has no justification to remain in power after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure.
El-Rufai maintained that the Presidency should rightly return to the Southern part of Nigeria.
He said though the constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC, does not make provision for rotation but in the interest of justice, equity, and fair play, Presidency should go to other regions of the country.
Vanguard quoted him as saying: “The general political consensus in Nigeria is that the Presidency should rotate between the North and the South. It is not written but everyone understands it.
“In some of the parties, like the PDP, it is even written down in their constitution but it was breached in 2015. I think that every politician of honour should understand and abide by that consensus except there is an extenuating circumstance compelling it to be set aside. What could this be?
“President Yar’Adua died in office and it was compulsory for Jonathan to continue but when 2011 election came, there were many people who insisted that Jonathan should step aside for a northerner to complete the tenure of Yar’Adua but I opposed it because I didn’t think it was proper for an incumbent that got there not by his own design should be stopped from contesting when the constitution has not barred him from running.
“In the APC, we deliberately omitted rotational Presidency in our constitution and the emergence of a presidential candidate does not take into account zoning and that was why in 2015, Rochas Okorocha from the East contested, Sam Nda-Isaiah contested, Buhari, Kwankwaso and others contested.”
El-Rufai a chieftain of APC, added that presidential candidates are chosen on the basis of merit and general acceptance.
“I can say that as distinct from the PDP, APC has no rotational Presidency but candidates are selected strictly on the basis of political merit and the general acceptability of the candidate.
“I want to say that those of us from Northern Nigeria honour agreements. We do not violate unwritten political agreements and I will be the last person to lead in violating that agreement. I may have a personal view but that should be the basis. I don’t care where you come from but I look for merit.
“But as a group, the Northern APC will have to sit down and endorse someone, most likely someone from the South, because after eight years of Buhari, I don’t think the Presidency should remain in the north unless there is some extenuating circumstances. But all things being equal, we will honour our agreement and we keep our words,” he said.
Woman, 3 Others Jailed 160 Years Over Fake Naira Notes
A woman, Hadiza Bello, and three other accomplices have been sentenced to 160 years in prison by a Federal High Court, sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, for dealing in fake naira notes.
The convicts were dragged before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission after they were caught at a checkpoint along Girei-Yola Road.
A statement from the ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said five suspects — Hadiza, Mohammed Dauda, Bello Salisu, Ali Adamu and Hassan Bello, were involved in a deal to exchange the sum of N5m counterfeit notes for N1m real notes, adding that Hassan, a native doctor, could not be sentenced because of his death before conviction.
The statement said, “A Federal High Court sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, has sentenced four persons, including a woman, to 160 years’ imprisonment on a multiple-count charge of conspiracy and possession of counterfeit banknotes.
“Justice Abdulazeez Anka, who handed down the sentences to the convicts in the case brought by the ICPC, ruled that they would spend 10 years in prison on each of the four counts preferred against them.
“Three of the convicts, Hadiza Bello, Mohammed Dauda and Bello Salisu, had in March 2017, left Kaduna and were joined by the fourth convict, Ali Adamu, from Kano, to meet a native doctor, Hassan Bello, who was a counterfeiter at Wamdeo Uba, Borno State, with the intention to procure about N5m counterfeit banknotes to exchange for about N1m genuine banknotes from a customs officer.
“The deal with the customs officer did not go through for undisclosed reasons. However, as they made their way back, they were caught at a checkpoint on Girei-Yola Road, with counterfeit N1000 banknotes to the value of N5, 504,000 by soldiers on duty and subsequently handed over to the ICPC.”
The anti-graft body said an investigation launched by its officers led to the residence of the native doctor at Wamdeo Uba, where he was arrested.
“A search conducted on the premises revealed more counterfeit N1000 bank notes reading the same serial number to the value of N26,000.
“At the conclusion of investigations, except for Bello Salisu, who was charged with abetment to commit an offense of possession of counterfeit banknotes, the other four suspects, including the native doctor counterfeiter, were arraigned on four counts of being in possession of counterfeit banknotes, which is an offense contrary to sections 5(1) (b) and 6(2) (b), and punishable under Section 5(1) (c) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions) Act, cap. C35, LFN 2004,” the statement added.
In his ruling, Justice Anka found the accused persons guilty on each of the four counts and sentenced them to cumulative 40 years’ imprisonment each, although the sentences would run concurrently.
Man Rapes Six Teenage Boys, Blames Demons
The Anambra Police Command on Sunday said it had arrested a man, Emmanuel Bassey, for sexually assaulting six teenage boys.
The police claimed that the man lured and forcefully defiled the underage children.
The suspect, it was alleged, molested his victims in different parts of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, in a press release, said the suspect was arrested following a tip-off.
“Following a tip-off, police detectives attached to ‘B’ Division, Awka, arrested one Emmanuel Bassey (38) of Abi LGA of Cross River State, but resident at Ngozika Housing Estate, Awka.
“The suspect allegedly had unlawful carnal knowledge against the order of nature with over six small boys of between 10 and 14 years on different occasions.
“The suspect has equally made a voluntary confessional statement to the police and blamed his act on demons.”
Mohammed said the victims had been taken to hospital for medical examination.
“The Commissioner of Police, John Abang, has ordered immediate transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation Department for discreet investigation after which the suspect will be prosecuted,” the PPRO added.