THE Department of State Services (DSS) has said its investigation revealed that #RevolutionNow was a smokescreen for the actual intention of Omoyele Sowore, the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the last presidential election, and his allies “to topple the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The DSS said it was engaged in a painstaking investigation into Sowore’s activities in view of the quantum of evidence gathered.
The service said it may return to court to seek an extension of the 45 days granted it by the Federal High Court, Abuja, to detain him.
The security agency stated this in a fresh document it filed at the Federal High Court on Monday in response to an application by Sowore challenging the court’s order, granting the security agency 45 days to detain him pending investigation.
In the counter-affidavit deposed to by Godwin Agbadua, an official of the DSS, it was stated that Sowore was arrested on reasonable suspicion of having committed a capital offence, upon his alleged involvement in terrorists’ activities.
“The respondent/appllcant (Sowore) planned to violently change the government through the hashtag RevolutionNow. The respondent/appllcant hid under the cover of call for mass protest with the hashtag RevolutionNow to mislead unsuspecting and innocent members of the public into joining him to topple the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“In his plot to topple the government the respondent/applicant held series of meetings with members at a prescribed terrorists‘ organisation, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) with a view to mobilising strong forces to realise his agenda at changing the government
“The respondent formed an alliance with a fugitive, Nnamdi Keno, a self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed terrorists group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to launch series of attacks on Nigeria with a view to violently removing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“After series of closed-door meetings between the duo in the United States of America, they addressed a press conference wherein they both stated their resolve to form alliance against the Nigerian government, The duo stated that they have a well planned out strategy to realize their objective, which is toppling the government.
“The applicant/respondent is investigating the activities of the respondent applicant as it relates to a terrorists organisation, IPOB. The facts show a conjecture between the respondent/applicant and IPOB activities.
“There is the need for the applicant/respondent to investigate such reasonable suspicion of the relationship between the respondent/applicant and IPOB.
“The respondent held series of meetings with some foreign collaborators outside Nigeria including Dubai where millions of dollars were given to him to sponsor a widespread attack on Nigeria with a view to violently removing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and freeing Ibrahim Yaqub ElZakzaky (Shaikh).
“In furtherance to the plans to violently free Elzakzaky from lawful custody. the respondent held several meetings with a proscribed terrorists organisation. Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) where they strategized on how to carry out attacks to force the government to free Elzakzaky.
“The respondent stated in one of his videos that Shiite members, who are members of the proscribed terrorists group, IMN were going to join forces with him in bringing down the government. The statement and the meetings of the respondent/applicant raises issue of grave suspicion of supporting a proscribed terrorists’ organisation, IMN.
“The suspicions require diligent investigation by the applicant/respondent. The planned action constitutes a threat of violence to intimidate or cause panic in members of the public as a means of affecting political conduct
“The investigation is still ongoing. Upon the completion of investigation, the case file will be forwarded to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for advice and possible prosecution,” DSS said.
Also, a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday declined to order the release of Sahara Reporters Publisher Omoyele Sowore and other detainees for their participation in the August 5 #RevolutionNow protest.
Vacation judge Justice Nicholas Oweibo said he needed to first hear from the Federal Government, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
He ordered the DSS and IGP to appear before him on September 4 to show why Sowore and other protesters in detention should not be immediately released.
The judge also ordered Lagos lawyer Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, who filed the ex parte application seeking the detainees’ release, to put the IGP and DSS on notice.
Ogungbeje, who said he participated in the #RevolutionNow protest but was not arrested, filed the application on behalf of himself and other participants.
The lawyer prayed the court to declare as “unconstitutional and illegal police clampdown on the protesters and the arrest of Sowore by the DSS”.
He also sought an order for the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested and detained.
Joined as respondents in the application are: the Federal Government, the DSS and the IGP.
On why the arrested persons should be immediately and unconditionally released, Ogungbeje said: “There has been a grave constitutional infraction committed by the respondents against the applicant and other persons who engaged in the peaceful protest for good governance in Nigeria.”
The lawyer said he was deprived of his constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly and association and the right to freedom of expression.
“On August 3, 2019, the Convener of the protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore’s home was forcefully invaded and put under siege; he was arrested, whisked away and detained in the detention facility of the second respondent (DSS).
“Mr Sowore has not committed any offence known to law to warrant the infringement and likely infringement of rights by the respondents.
“By engaging in the peaceful protest, the applicant and other persons have not committed any offence known to law to warrant the treatment meted out to them by the respondents and their agents,” he said.
Ogungbeje urged the court to order the immediate release of those arrested and detained.