The Publisher of Sahara Reporters and an Activist, Omoyele Sowore and other activists were arrested by Nigerian security operatives on New Year’s eve in Abuja.
According to SaharaReporters, Sowore, and other activists in Abuja were carrying out a peaceful procession to usher in the New Year and were almost done with their crossover procession when about seven loaded vans of the Nigerian security forces swooped on them, brutalising everyone at sight.
An Eyewitnesses said that policemen suspected to be with the Rapid Response Squad stormed Gudu junction in Abuja, wounding Sowore before carting him away with other activists at the location.
Reports had it that they were taken to the Abattoir police station of the allegedly disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit in Abuja, where they are currently being tortured and detained. Sowore was said to be severely injured by the policemen.
Efforts made to reach Sowore via his phone on Friday morning proved abortive. Also, others who were arrested together with him could not be reached also.
According to SaharaReporters, those who spoke to Sowore last confirmed that they were taken to the Abattoir police station, Lokogoma, Abuja.
“Sowore, Sanyaolu Juwon, Michael, and two others are currently detained at Abattoir Police Station, Abuja. Sowore is currently bleeding from the nose as the officers brutalised him.
“The comrades were almost done with their crossover protest when about seven loaded vans of the Nigerian military swooped on them, brutalising everyone at sight.
“Sowore was particularly singled out for torture by the security operatives, who gave him a bloodied nose before whisking him away,” a source said.
Hours before his arrest, Sowore had tweeted about a planned procession across the country on new year’s eve to demand an end to bad governance in Nigeria and it is assumed that his arrest, brutalisation, and detention might be connected to the Tweet with a hashtag, #CrossoverWithProtest.
His Tweet reads; “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’s upload our short videos and photos across our social media platforms. Let’s welcome the regime to a resolute 2021!
”#CrossoverWithProtest against tyrant @mbuhari’s regime, candlelight for #LekkiMassacre; a placard for #EndBadGovernment; procession to usher in #Revolutionary 2021, a fist for victims of repression-frozen bank accounts, malicious prosecution and detention of #Endsars activists.
“#Crossoverwithprotest starts at 11:30 till 12:30 am across Nigeria, a candle, a placard and fireworks to usher in a RESOLUTE 2021 in Nigeria! Join with your friends and neighbours #EndSARS. #ObigboMassacre #LekkiMassacre #EndBadGoveranceInNigeria #BuhariTrainwreck #RevolutionNow.”
Nigeria’s Department of Security Services, (DSS) had on August 3, 2019, in Lagos arrested Sowore and moved him to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja where he was illegally detained for 144 days despite different court orders for his release.
Sowore was given trumped-up charges by the DSS of crimes like money laundering. The security agency claimed he was plotting to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari even though it failed to produce evidence to substantiate its claim.
He was subsequently arraigned for treason but had pleaded not guilty. The activist cum journalist was granted bail in November 2020, but part of the conditions restricts him to Abuja.
Nigerians on social media have called for his release with the hashtag #freesowore. The police have yet to issue any statement on his arrest.
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