Activist and publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, has accused the Nigerian government of plotting to arrest or kill him over the #EndSARS protests.
Mr Sowore was arrested in August last year by operatives of the State Security Service in Lagos just ahead of the #RevolutionNow protests which he inspired months after losing in the 2019 presidential election.
He was later released in December on bail. His movement is currently confined to the Federal Capital Territory, based on his bail conditions.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the online news publisher, accused the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, and some other high-profile officials of government of either masterminding or bankrolling the plot to either arrest or kill him.
“Info reaching me now is that a signal from DIA (Directorate of Military Intelligence) has put a bounty on my head, that I must be arrested or murdered as they claim I’d resist arrest in the next 24hrs! This is from the Defence HQ here in Abuja! Be it known that this can’t affect the struggle for freedom,” Mr Sowore tweeted.
“The plot against me has been on for weeks now, and I’ve been aware until the signal sent to security agencies leaked tonight. There is a businessman linked with the @mbuhari regime who’s threatened me for weeks unending since #endsars started.”
The former presidential candidate under the platform of African Action Alliance, said Attorney-General Abubakar Malami secured an order against him and his newspaper before Justice AB Muhammed of the FCT High Court in disguise to distance himself from the alleged plot.
He also accused the Nigerian police of “stealing” his vehicles at the National Assembly where he had led a protest.
He wrote: “Just yesterday @MalamiSan went to an FCT court headed by Justice AB Muhammed to obtain an exparte order against me and @SaharaReporters. He wants to make it look like his part of it is “civil” to pretend he wasn’t part of the assassination squad they put together!
“The @policeng team dispatched to the NASS on Friday opened fire on me and stole one of my vehicles, they refused to return it even it was meant for PRESS duties, the FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma told me the car committed a crime and will be charged, it was shocking.
“Over the week their minions wrote press releases, letters to foreign embassies, @TheNationNews was generous in claiming some “Genuine EndSars” people want me arrested. The @HQNigerianArmy had a team of @twitter influencers on Sunday suggesting I should be assassinated.”
In the past one month, PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extra-judicial killings were hijacked by hoodlums which led to widespread violence with the looting and destruction of public and private infrastructures in many parts of the country.
The federal government responded with repressive actions such as the arrest, detention and seizure of passports of protesters and promoters of the #EndSARS campaign.
Recently, the passport of a lawyer, Modupe Odele, was seized by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), preventing her from travelling abroad. It was returned days after the service said it concluded its investigations.
Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria obtained an ex parte order to freeze the accounts of 20 individuals and an organisation linked to the #EndSARS campaign, a move that has been widely condemned by many Nigerians. A senior lawyer, Muiz Banire, described the action as unconstitutional.
Efforts to reach the spokespersons for the FCT Police Command, Matilda Yusuf; and the AGF, Umar Gwandu, on the allegations were unsuccessful.
Ms Yusuf’s phone number did not connect, and she did not also respond to text messages sent to her.
Mr Gwandu on his part promised to reach back to the reporter. He is yet to do so as of the time this report was filed.
When contacted, Garba Shehu, a spokesperson to the president, quoted the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Gambari, as denying involvement in any such plot.
Mr Shehu said, “I just ran to the chief of staff and he has asked me to respond on the allegations. There is no truth to it.
“And this is not in his character. And it is not in his line of duty to order arrest.”
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