…respect rule of law, judicial independence, U.S. tells FG
…why we re-arrested Sowore — DSS
A groundswell of condemnation has continued to trail Nigeria’s Department State Services (DSS) action re-arresting Omoyele Sowore in the courtroom after he was released less than 24 hours.
The latest and most strident is the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour which expressed grave worry about recent developments in Nigeria.
The department asked the Federal Government to show commitment to the respect for rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom, and due process as key tenets of democracy.
Sowore, the convener of the #RevelotionNow Movement, was rearrested by the DSS at the Federal High Court, Abuja, premises following the adjournment of his trial until Feb. 11, 2019 by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.
“We are deeply concerned that Sowore has been re-detained in Nigeria, shortly after a court ordered he be released on bail. Respect for rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom and due process are key tenets of democracy,’’ the State Department said on its Twitter page (@StateDRL).
As to its mission, it said: “We advance American security in the struggle against authoritarianism and terrorism when we stand for the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights of people to assemble peaceably and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.”
The United States Senator representing New Jersey, Mr Bob Menendez, had earlier criticized the action of the DSS, describing Sowore as a prominent Nigerian-American journalist and activist.
“I am outraged by the blatant harassment of Omoyele Sowore, an activist and journalist whose only crime appears to be exercising his right to free expression.
“In a concerted effort to secure his release on behalf of the Sowore family living in New Jersey, my office has been working closely with the State Department as Mr Sowore’s case languished following his arbitrary arrest back in August.
“While we continue to seek immediate answers about Mr Sowore’s treatment and conditions in jail, I will be further engaging directly with U.S.
“This blatant miscarriage of justice is symptomatic of closing political and media space in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the DSS has said that it re-arrested Sowore because he “resorted to acts inimical to security”.
In a statement in Abuja on Saturday, the secret police said: “It is most unfortunate that Sowore, shortly after being released from custody, based on the court order, resorted to acts inimical to security.
“To this effect, only Sowore has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was not picked up even when Falana had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him.”