A presidency official on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari cannot intervene over the detention of the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, by the State Security Services (SSS, also called DSS) because “it is too early for the president’s intervention.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said this while commenting on the continued detention of the former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) despite a court order.
Adesina disclosed that despite the court order mandating the release of the activist, “it is too early for Buhari to weigh in”.
He disclosed this while speaking on Sunday Politics on Channels Television.
Responding to a question on why Sowore is yet to be released, he said: “It is an issue that is unraveling and I think it is still in the realm of security and judiciary. The DSS has a spokesman in Peter Afunanya. If you ask him this question, I’m sure he will be able to respond.
“As we are now, I think it is premature for the presidency to weigh into this matter but when the presidency speaks, it should be the final position on this.
“The president had been away. He came into the country yesterday. I have not been briefed. If he says this is our position on this matter, then I can speak on it.”
“Because I have not been briefed, I won’t be able to say much but I am sure as a media house if you try to speak with the spokesman of the DSS, he may oblige,” he said.
A Federal High Court judge, Taiwo Taiwo, on September 24 ordered the immediate release of Sowore after the prosecution informed the court of its completion of investigations into the allegations against the activist.
The judge said Sowore’s lead counsel, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, would be responsible for ensuring he appears in court for trial.
Six days after that court order and five days after Sowore met the bail conditions, the DSS has refused to obey the order.
Sowore was arrested on August 3 by the DSS for planning a protest popularised with the hashtag, #RevolutionNow.
The protest took place on August 5, amidst heavy clampdown of protesters and journalists by security agents.
The DSS accused Sowore of plotting to cause chaos and overthrow President Buhari.
The agency obtained an order for his initial detention from the same Justice Taiwo for 45 days which elapsed on September 21.
On September 20, the Nigerian government filed a seven-count charge against Sowore and a co-accused, Olawale Bakare.