Nigerian judge orders human rights crusader Omoyele Sowore detained for terrorism for 45 initial days Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021

WASHINGTON (TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA) – Human rights crusader and politician, Omoyele Sowore, would remain in the custody of the Nigerian secret police for an initial 45 days, a judge ruled on Thursday.

The Federal High Court judge Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division who granted the State Security Service an approval to keep Sowore in custody for initial 45 days, added that the SSS would get additional permission to keep locking Mr Sowore up for his activism if it needed more time for its investigation.

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Heavily armed security operatives stormed a Lagos hotel on August 3, 2019, and arrested Sowore, a New York-based activist and politician who contested the recent presidential election in Nigeria won by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Sowore was arrested just two days to nationwide protests he was spearheading to draw attention to bad governance and call for a revolution.

The government claimed that by calling for a revolution, Sowore was planning to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Online newspaper in Nigeria, Premium Times, reported that “Despite the SSS admitting that it had no evidence of a plot to take over government against Mr Sowore, the judge still granted the secret police permission to keep him under the anti-terrorism law”.

The newspaper added: “The remand order was granted ex-parte, meaning Mr Sowore was not allowed to be represented by a lawyer and the judge took the decision based on only the claim of the SSS.

“The judge, Taiwo Taiwo, ruling on an ex parte application filed by the SSS, whose operatives arrested Mr Sowore on August 3 in Lagos, held that the detention order would be renewable after the expiration of first 45 days on September 21.

“The SSS had on Tuesday applied for permission to keep Mr Sowore for 90 days to investigate him over his call for revolution ahead of the RevolutionNow protests which held in some parts of the country on Monday.

“The security agency anchored its application on the provision of section 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act.

“Ruling on ex parte application, a one-sided request by the SSS without counter-argument by Mr Sowore’s legal team, Mr Taiwo, said he had to grant the application, “only to the extent” of allowing the security agency to keep the respondent in custody for only 45 days for the applicant to conclude its investigation.

“Mr Taiwo said, although the hearing of the application was one-sided as provided by 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act, the use of the word, “may”, in the provision “is directory” and not “discretionary”.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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