The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, on Monday described Nigeria as a lawless country and urged its citizens to fight for “a country of our own.”
Mr Sowore has been detained for nearly 60 days by the State Security Service (SSS) for planning the #RevolutionNow protest which held in parts of the country on August 5.
He was brought before judge on Monday — his first public outing since arrest — charged with treasonable felony, fraud and cyber stalking. Mr Sowore pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He struck a defiant tone, urging Nigerians to reclaim their country.
“The revolution must hold, whether they like it or not,” he said.
He spoke to journalists briefly as SSS agents tried to stop him.
“Calm down. I must address the press. You know I must address the press,” Mr Sowore said in a video shared by Channels television, while SSS officials tried to pull him away.
Asked about his detention, Mr Sowore said: “Well I have been kept incommunicado for nearly 60 days now. You can see them dragging me. This is a lawless country. That is why Nigeria must fight for its soul so that we can get a chance to have a country of our own.”
As he was led away, Mr Sowore chanted slogans and songs: “Revolution! Now!! Revolution! Now!!”
“Revolution, eh!! Revolution, eh!! We must fight for this before we die! Revolution, eh!”
The crowd of Mr Sowore’s supporters amplified the song while the SSS officials dragged Mr Sowore out of the court through a back door.
Downstairs, another video shot by one of Mr Sowore’s lawyers, Inibehe Effiong, and shared on the lawyer’s Twitter handle showed the former presidential candidate speaking again.
“Ladies and gentlemen, don’t worry, we are on top of this. We will have a revolution, whether they like it or not,” Mr Sowore said.
Mr Effiong added that the revolution would benefit all including the SSS.
Earlier, Mr Sowore had arrived the court through the back door and was brought in, just about the same time the judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, was about to enter the courtroom.
But the photojournalists who had suspected that the SSS planned to take Mr Sowore through a back door, had been waiting at the entrance of the court and fought hard to get his photos.
The situation forced Ms Ojukwu to return to the chambers for over 15 minutes while security officials struggled to get the reporters out of the courtroom.
Mr Sowore was arrested on August 3. A court order for his release on September 24 was ignored by the SSS.
He was charged with a co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.