The Federal Government on Friday filed seven counts of treasonable felony and money laundering against the Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, is charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.
The charges were signed on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), by Aminu Alilu, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The charges were filed a day before the expiration of the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the Department of State Service to keep the activist for 45 days.
The detention order elapses on September 21.
In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.
It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
It also accused Sowore of money laundering offences in breach of section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 by alleged transferring by means of swift wire.
The sums of money he was said to have been involved in the alleged transfers were the sums of $19,975 on April 2, 2019; $20,475 on May 21, 2019, $16,975 on June 27, 2019, and another $16,975 on July 16, 2019.
The DSS arrested Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, following his call for revolution in a protest he organised to take place in some major cities on August 5.
Police Uncover Another Torture Centre with 300 Inmates in Buhari’s Hometown, Daura
The Police in Katsina State on Monday arrested the owner of a rehabilitation centre in Daura where over 300 inmates were being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. Some of the teachers were also said to have sexually molested the inmates at the centre owned by Mallam Bello Maialmajri.
The 78-year-old cleric was arrested alongside two other men, whose names were not disclosed.
Last month, the police in Kaduna State rescued over 300 boys from an Islamic school, where they were allegedly chained, sexually abused and tortured.
The Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, who led the operation at about 1pm, expressed shock at the new discovery.
The centre is located at Nasarawa Quarters, in the Sabongari area of Daura.
Daura is President Muhammadu Buhari’s hometown.
After inspecting the rehabilitation centre, Buba ordered the Daura Divisional Police Officer, ASP M.O.Wakili, cordon off the centre.
The CP said, “We learnt that the inmates here are over 300. The inmates revolted yesterday (Sunday) because of the inhuman treatment they were being subjected to.
“Some of the inmates escaped while the ones you are seeing, about 60, stayed back.
“The inmates are from various parts of Nigeria, including Katsina, as well as from Niger Republic. I will meet with the Emir of Daura and Governor Aminu Masari on the issue. We will do the profiling of the remaining inmates to determine where they are from and we will thereafter appeal to their parents and their guardians to come and collect them.”
He added, “As you heard from the inmates, apart from being subjected to inhuman treatment, some of their so-called teachers practised homosexual acts with them. Although the teachers escaped when my men came here after the inmates revolted, we shall get all of them and they would face the full wrath of the law.
“From what I have seen here, the old man, who is the owner of this place and who is over 78 years old, does not have the capacity and facilities to run this place again.”
One of the inmates, Abubakar Saminu,16, from Yobe State said his parents brought him to the centre because he was always stealing.
He said,”My parents brought me here because they believed I would be cured of my stealing problem. But they would beat us, starve us and subject us to inhuman treatment here.”
It was learnt that Maialmajri had already handed the running of the centre to his son, Umar, who reportedly escaped when police arrived.
The Emir of Daura, Dr . Umar Farouq, who spoke in Hausa, said, “We in Daura will not support any act of lawlessness. We want the law to take its course.”
Charges Against Sowore, Mockery of Justice System – SERAP
Anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), to enter a nolle prosequi to terminate the charges filed against the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare, alias Mandate.
In an open letter on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, SERAP said the charges which centre on insulting President Muhammadu Buhari would only make a mockery of the Nigerian criminal justice system.
SERAP advised Malami to activate his power of nolle prosequi under Section 174 of the constitution to terminate the charges against Sowore and Mandate “and several other similar trumped-up cases going on in several states.”
SERAP said, “Sowore’s case and several similar cases instigated/brought by state governors make a hideous mockery of Nigeria’s criminal justice system, rule of law, freedom of expression and media freedom.
“These cases are persecution and not prosecution. As a guardian of the public interest, you (Malami) have a role to end this travesty now, and to maintain the sanctity and integrity of Nigeria’s justice system.
“These cases set a dangerous precedent for the misuse and subversion of the justice system, which may lead to the politicisation of judiciary. This will be bad for everyone – ordinary citizens, journalists and even the politicians in power, as they may themselves become targets of these repressive and abusive tactics when they are out of power/in opposition.”
SERAP said while the Federal Government had the responsibility to prevent and prosecute criminal offences, it ought to do so lawfully, and in full compliance with human rights and the rule of law.
Also, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Solomon Okedara, described Section 24(1) of the Cybercrime Act under which Sowore was charged with insulting the President as “repressive, oppressive and largely unconstitutional.”
Okedara said, “In fact, I am of the opinion that proceeding with such a charge particularly when the person allegedly insulted is the President will rather paint the image of the President and the country in bad light before the comity of nations.
“This is aside the fact that Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act does not meet the requirement of permissible restriction to freedom of expression. Having worked on the Cybercrime Act and indeed Section 24 both as a practitioner and researcher, it is clear that Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act is indeed an insult to our hard-earned democracy and same does not deserve a place in our laws.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow himself to be embarrassed Malami against Sowore.
Adeniran, who described the charges against Sowore as trumped-up and face-saving, argued that it was obvious that government had no grounds to continue to hold Sowore.
The CACOL chairman said this in a Facebook post on Sunday.
He said, “FG has no good reason to hold Sowore anymore; the trumped-up charges are (a) face-saving strategy with no substance!
“President Buhari, please don’t allow Malami to embarrass you any further. Order Sowore’s immediate release and damn it!”
Why Nigeria Must Avoid Another Civil War by Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, I have decided to write on this topic today because of the dangerous giddiness I observe in many of our young ones today, especially on social media. I have no doubt that many of them love our country so passionately but are disappointed in how messy things have been. Many have struggled to go to school hoping to find something meaningful to do thereafter but no such luck. Many have become frustrated and despondent and desperate in the process. The resultant effect naturally is deep seated resentment and anger. But I read somewhere that “anger beclouds reasoning” more often than not. Someone needs to plead with those who think war is a tea party to perish the thought. It is not a game and to fit it into language which our youths of today will probably understand, it is not a video game. No matter how angry we were in our younger days, (and I was a pioneer JAMBITE in 1978, some 41 odd years ago), we tried hard to avoid bloodshed even when security forces fired at us, as they still do till this day. And compared to war, such confrontations are child’s play!
Even if war must come as the very last resort, there must be a method to madness. War should never be fought for the sake of war. One must ask the pertinent questions: what are we fighting for, the objectives; who is leading the war and will they come out on the battlefield with members of their own family or send others out as Guinea pigs; what guarantees have we that even if we win, which cannot ever be guaranteed, we can win with minimum collateral costs and damages? That is why we have what is called a pyrrhic victory, a victory so devastating and debilitating that it might as well have been a defeat! And in a civil war, there is ultimately no victor or vanquished because the protagonists all bear the scars for a very long time. Those who participated in and survived the Nigerian civil war will tell you of the emotional pain, anguish and torture that they still suffer till today alongside the physical injuries and wounds. We have examples of other wars fought across the globe and we know their outcomes. Even where victory has been proclaimed in some of them, we feel the aftershocks and aftermath much later on and wonder why, if it was all so in vain, we ever got involved in the process.
True, war is sometimes unavoidable, but I don’t think Nigeria or Nigerians can afford, or survive another round of a bloody civil war. Of course, it is not just the fact that such a war is likely to lead to the disintegration of the country, because some people will claim that this is what they want in any event, it is the nature of the disintegration that must be feared and avoided. We have become too divided along ethnic lines that we may need to create tens and tens of nations out of present-day Nigeria. Each of the so-called majority tribes in Nigeria have their own local internecine battles being fought with the minority ethnic groups. Just as some majority tribes insist they want to secede or break away because they cannot stand other tribes lording it over them, so also the smaller clans which will have become bigger groups in a vastly reduced sub-region will complain about the overlordship of the new majority tribe in any new nation. Our people are never satisfied or content. There will always be room and avenue for complaints. It is therefore not going to be as simple as many of those calling for war think to conceptualise the numerous nations that will be birthed by a war-ravaged Nigeria.
I have been privileged to read voraciously about the history of wars globally. What pains me the most is that after the insanity that started every war calms down, the antagonists would usually sit down across a table, and dialogue with one another having agreed to a conversation they had rejected out of hand in the past, in their collective stupidity. Many of them would later come back to preach about the importance of unity after wasting so many innocent lives, but never the lives of those close to them. Those ones are usually ensconced in safety in far-away climes.
Apart from reading, I have travelled through several war-torn zones and saw first-hand the vestiges of mutually acquired suspicion and the destruction and calamity that ensued following the seeming intractable disputes that had led to the field of battle. I was in Sierra Leone in 2001 and visited Port Loko and Mange, towns or villages that were ravaged and devastated by the war that raged with so much venom that hands and arms were amputated by whether you were wearing long sleeves or short sleeves. I wondered what on earth could have led to such meanness, wickedness and evil. I also travelled to Liberia where, again, I visited our soldiers who controlled ten of the 15 counties in the country, at the time. The story was quite similar to that of Sierra Leone. No compassion, no sympathy, no empathy. There was looting, raping and murder all in the name and disguise of war. Evildoers in these countries took refuge under the umbrella of war to unleash their bestial nature on poor unsuspecting citizens who despite their pleas and entreaties were massacred in their thousands with great mirth and debauchery accompanying the sickening killings and rapes.
I have also travelled to Rwanda many times in the last couple of years and can authoritatively confirm that no country should ever experience such a pogrom or genocide for any reason. The carnage, bloodbath and ethnic cleansing that I heard about seemed to come out of stories one reads in novels and fantasies only that I saw and met those who had been unfortunate to be victims of a macabre example of man’s inhumanity to man.
I’m particularly worried that many of those shouting war, war, war in Nigeria hardly know the meaning of it. My visits to the Kigali Genocide Memorial convinced me that we are playing with naked fire. I see too many similarities to how the conflagration started in Rwanda. Before the two main rivals in the ethnic jingoism knew what was happening, they had started a war that wasted too many lives. I passed through that museum again some days ago and still had tears in my eyes. I ran into many Nigerians and wished they will all go back as Peace Ambassadors having witnessed the harm and suffering that a war of attrition such as that being espoused by some of our youths and aged elders can bring.
Nearer home, I have seen the effect that a mini war can have in the Ife-Modakeke crisis of the 1980’s. Close friends and families suddenly became sworn enemies. People used the opportunity to settle old scores. Young men were slain for apparently no reason. Those who provided the guns and ammunition, the petrol and the lighters for the killings and arson that took place hid their closest and dearest from the blood-letting that ensued. When the dust settled the discerning members of both communities sat down to wonder what it was all about. However, the damage had been done! Till this day, just as there is mutual distrust and suspicion amongst the various majority tribes of Nigeria, so also is there such distrust and suspicion between the Ifes and the Modakekes.
It is so disheartening that many of those controlling the appurtenances of power in our country today once fought for the unity of Nigeria during the civil war of 1967 to 1970. How come they have forgotten the monstrosity and monumental tragedy that befell Nigeria at that unfortunate moment? Why can’t these leaders realise that our country deserves better than to be governed in such petty manner as we now are doing? Why can’t they concentrate on the onerous tasks of nation building instead of nation wrecking? Nigeria is a great country that will become greater still if we stop fanning the ethnic embers and concentrate on building a thriving successful nation. Our diversity should be our strength and not a weakness or an albatross around our neck. Without any doubt, the price of peace is always cheaper than the cost of war. Anarchy will never lead to progress and development. It can only worsen or situation.
However, all the blame cannot be laid at the doorstep of our leaders, especially those in government. I see middle-aged people who were young people at the time, and were unfortunate childhood participants, actors or spectators in disaster that was the Nigerian civil war. This is because in reality, no region was spared. The civil war did not in fact begin in 1967, its genesis was in the mutiny and subsequent military putsch of January 1966. The January 1966 affair became a raging inferno once the retaliatory coup of July 1966 took place and given the egos and youthful exuberance of our military leaders at the time, it was no wonder that they committed to going down the slippery slope of war rather than discourse. One would have thought that with age and maturity, those leaders who are alive, and were active participants in the turmoil that embroiled Nigeria in those crazy days, would reflect and ensure that nothing of that nature ever occurs again in our country. However, it is sad to see that some of them are in the forefront of the agitation for war as means of resolving what is after all a political issue.
The buck still stops at the table of our leaders, especially the President, Muhammadu Buhari. He needs to work harder at reassuring the nation that he means well for Nigeria and that he respects all Nigerians as equals no matter where they come from. For the moment and at this present time in our history, the President must not only recognise the existence and utility of all regions, regardless of their part in his electoral success, he must integrate them. It is not too difficult to do. Our Constitution already provides the foundation for any determined leader to seize the moment and take the initiative. There is provision for Federal Character in most appointments and although this has sometimes been used to crown mediocrity over merit, in the hands of an astute manager, it can be used to assuage and heal old wounds and to kickstart the country’s journey towards living in harmony and unity.
I believe that we must learn to be tolerant towards each other. Some of the complaints about our leaders’ stem from the intolerance and impatience on both sides. This is justified because of our history which our leaders have never properly addressed. At the same time, I also believe that our leaders must focus mainly on the real ills of our society especially poverty, education and unemployment. Dealing decisively with these matters will lead to our youths being more discerning and deciding not to be cannon fodder for anybody. There must come a time when it should not matter where successive Presidents come from or indeed whether they come from the same parts as their deputies. What should matter is merit and good governance. This can only be achieved when those leading us abandon the seeming toga of ethnic overlords that they are adorned with, when it is not their style or portion. This they can only do by transparently demonstrating that they are true nationalists and patriots and will treat all Nigerians the same irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.
That is the future, our future, not war, secession or disintegration.