Sowore still mobilising against Nigeria in custody, DSS alleges
•Group urges caution, Archbishop Welby responds to SERAP’s letter
The Department of State Services (DSS) has accused the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, of “cashing on the special privileges” provided to him at the service’s detention facility to “mobilise Nigerians for violence and revolution against the government via telephone.”
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, who made the accusation while briefing journalists at the headquarters of the secret police yesterday in Abuja, dismissed reports by Sowore’s lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that he was at the service to secure bail of the former presidential candidate.
He said: “There is nothing that Sowore needed that we don’t provide him with. He has been using his phone to mobilise people and even call for violence and action against the Nigerian state.
“The records are straight. Falana has not been here since this thing started. Mr. Femi Falana has not visited this office since the issue of bail started.”
The spokesperson argued that the DSS deserved commendations for protecting Sowore in custody, insisting that no credible Nigerian had come forward to secure his bail.
Afunanya maintained that his organisation was only adhering to administrative procedures through its insistence for sureties to observe proper documentation.
“We respect rules and orders of the court, and there was never a time the Director-General said he would not release Sowore,” he added.
The secret police also denied reports that its operatives opened fire on a group of protesters allegedly demanding the freedom of the pro-democracy campaigner in Abuja.
Amid ‘unwarranted provocations’, the spokesman said the service, as a professional and responsible organisation, had comported itself within the confines of the law.
Besides, a group, Save Nigeria Movement, has cautioned against casting the DSS in bad light over the continued detention of the publisher of the Sahara Reporters.
Its spokesperson, Semaaka Solomon Semakaa, who spoke at a rally in Abuja, maintained that the mindsets of Nigerians must not be exploited to cast aspersion on that important agency of government in the interest of national peace.
Moreover, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Portal Welby, has responded to the open letter by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) requesting his intervention in the release of Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
Replying on behalf of the cleric via an email on Monday night, the Chief Correspondence Officer at the Lambeth Palace, Dominic Goodall, said: “Thank you for your recent letter. Much as he would like to, the Archbishop is unable to respond personally in detail, so I have been asked to reply to you on his behalf.”
The receipt was confirmed yesterday by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
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