Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has berated the Department of State Services (DSS) over its continued detention of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore despite meeting his bail conditions.
Soyinka in statement issued Tuesday night said the actions of the secret police was childish and gone beyond acceptable level. He called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to come together to fight against the impunity of the security agencies.
“This is not a new cry. They must meet, debate, and embark on a binding pact of tactical responses whenever these two pillars of civilized society are besieged by the demolition engines of state security agencies. The sporadic, uncoordinated responses as in the case of Omoyele Sowore, the absence of a solid strategy, ready to be activated against any threat — these continue to enable these agencies in their mission to enthrone a pattern of conduct that openly scoffs at the role of the judiciary in national life.
“Result? A steady entrenchment of the cult of impunity in the dealings of state with the citizenry – both individuals and organizations. The level of arrogance has crossed even the most permissive thresholds. It is heart-warming to witness the determined efforts of “Concerned Nigerians” in defence of these rights.
“Why the desperation? The answer is straightforward: the government never imagined that the bail conditions for Sowore would ever be met. Even Sowore’s supporters despaired. The bail test was clearly set to fail! It took a while for the projection to be reversed, and it left the DSS floundering.
“That agency then resorted to childish, cynical lies. It claimed that the ordered release was no longer in their hands, but in Sowore’s end of the transfer. The lie being exploded, what next? Bullets of course,” he said.
“As I remarked from the onset, this is an act of government insecurity and paranoia that merely defeats its real purpose. And now – bullets? This is no longer comical. Perhaps it is necessary to remind this government of precedents in other lands where, even years after the event, those who trampled on established human rights that generate homicidal impunity are called to account for abuse of power and crimes against humanity.
“The protests for Sowore’s release go beyond only acts of solidarity, they are manifestations of the judgment and authority of courts of law, under which this nation is supposedly governed. Either it is, or it isn’t. The answer stares us all in the face. The principles that now fall under threat implicate more than one individual under travail. They involve the very entitlement of a nation to lay claim to membership of any democratic, humanized union.
“Enough of this charade, nothing more than a display of crude, naked power. Release Omoyele Sowore and save us further embarrassment in the regard of the world. An apology to the nation by the DSS and the judiciary would also not be out of place. It would go some distance in redeeming the image of an increasingly fascistic agency and reduce the swelling tide of public disillusionment.
“Let the rule of law reign. Failing that, have the honesty to proclaim the death of ordered society. Then we’ll all know just where we stand.”
Operatives of the DSS had on Tuesday fired gun shots and used pepper spray to disperse protesters who were gathered around the service headquarters to demand for the release of Sowore after the leader of the protesters, Deji Adeyanju displayed the sum of N1m he was given at gun point to call off the protests.