Sowore Rearrested Over Crossover Protest
Sowore is at it again with the federal government. It is no news that Sowore has always been at loggerhead with the federal government. For those that do not know Sowore, let me give you a quick background to who he is and how and why he has always been dragged by the federal government of Nigeria.
Omoyele Sowore is a human right activist and the founder of the online newspaper Sahara Reporters and one of the 2019 presidential candidate of the party African Action Congress (AAC). Of course, he did not win, but still actively involved in politics and his thirst for revolution. His first arrest was made for alleged treason on the 3rd of August 2019 by the Department of State Service (DSS) after calling for a protest tagged “RevolutionNow” After the arrest was condemned by Wole Soyinka and other activists, he was later charged with “conspiracy to commit treason and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari”. After going back and forth at the court, the protest led by his wife, arrest and rearrest, he was finally released on the 24th of December 2019 and restricting him from making any movement outside Abuja.
Fast forward to the recent activity going on now in 2021, amidst the presence of covid 19 precautions put in place by the federal government, Sowore organized a cross over protest on the 31st of December 2021. He tweeted on Twitter saying;
“How about a CrossOver Protest/Uprising tonight? Anyone willing to participate? Pick up a candle and a placard showing your grievances against the regime, let us upload our short videos and photos across our Social Media platforms. Let us welcome the regime to a RESOLUTE 2021!”
The protest physically took place in Abuja with men of about 10, holding placards, holding candle nights and some of the things written on their card says “End bad government, Buhari must go”. Residents of the locality reported that they were almost done with the police when security operatives rounded them up. Sowore reported that he was filming the process when he saw the security officers that came to arrest them. Five of them were arrested and has gone to court. Sowore was charged for three criminal offence, criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and inciting public disturbance and they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
There is nothing wrong in holding a protest, every citizen has the right to freely express their opinion about the government. And it is no news that Sowore likes to tickle the Buhari government and the government always falls for it every time. Sowore is expressing his opinion about the government and he is not harmful in any way. He does not even have the crowd. Yet the government rather than spend quality time to worry about Nigeria’s problems is busy handcuffing Sowore. There are tons of people on social media, especially on Twitter who says so many worse thing about the government, so many of them have committed treason if that is the charge they want to put around Him.
My question is why him? Is it because he is a journalist or because he is actively involved in Politics or he has an interest in running for a political position? The government is always ready to drag him at all cost.
Fayemi, his lawyer also said he was charged for breaching COVID-19 precautions. That is about 4 charges on him. It was quite clear that the government placed a curfew between 12 am and 4 am and churches were advised not to hold the usual crossover service that shoots into the 1st of January because of the curfew. Hence churches held cross over eve between 7 pm to about 10 pm. The time that the protest was held was not stated but it was tagged a crossover protest. The reason behind the time and setting of the protest is alarming because why will candlelight be brought to a protest. It is as though the protesters held a candlelight service for the Nigerian government and in this case, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari because his name was mentioned on the placards that were held on the protest ground.
The Magistrate Court in Abuja remanded of the five persons at the Kuje Correctional Centre in the nation’s capital pending when their formal bail application would be heard. In as much as we want the government to leave Sowore alone and focus on other issues in the country, we also hope that Sowore will leave the government alone and seek other ways to pass his message to the government or the audience. The Nigerian government has not had a clean history with journalists that rise like Sowore and most of their cases do not end well. Sowore should seek other means to pass his message. Contesting for a presidential position was a try that did not end victoriously. He could start from his local government, his community or state and gradually push his message till it gets to the top.
If going his route is not successful, it is better to re-strategize. Re-strategizing does not mean that the government will not still pick on him or try to drag him but strategies that rather than attack the government, look for ways that will help him push out this message to the youth and Nigerians at large. His motive might be good but the way he is carrying out his motive is obviously not going in the right direction.
We also hope that the Nigerian government let him go. Sowore is the least of our problem in the country, he is not even on the list of what we are battling within the country. We cannot overemphasize the challenges and issues that the country is facing now. So, the government should free Sowore and focus on how to lift the country from the shackles of corruption, insecurity, poverty, bad governance to a place where Nigeria should be. A place where Nigeria flourishes and become that great nation that we all hope and pray for.