The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, has accused the State Security Service (SSS) of mobilising hoodlums to assault him at the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Mr Sowore said he was at the court to witness the proceedings in the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, when he was attacked by “thugs and hoodlums” who were wielding “dangerous objects” on Thursday.
Narrating how the incident happened, the former presidential aspirant said, “As soon as I reached the gate of the Federal High Court I was alerted to the large presence of thugs and hoodlums carrying dangerous weapons.
“I had been briefed that these persons were mobilised by Nigeria’s secret police known as the DSS. During my last appearance in court for the same purpose, they physically attacked me while the DSS and police pushed me back to them, this was captured on tape,” Mr Sowore said.
DSS is the acronym of the Department of State Service, a name the agency gave itself contrary to its establishment law.
Mr Sowore shared pictures showing him before the alleged attack and broken windows of a car conveying him.
In a video clip, which he also shared with PREMIUM TIMES, his supporters could be seen pursuing those they referred to as the ‘hoodlums’ allegedly mobilised by the government to attack the activist.
Although PREMIUM TIMES could not independently ascertain the involvement of the SSS in the alleged attack, the spy agency has a history of suppressing the ‘Revolution Now’ protest leader.
In 2019, the agency, in a commado-style, invaded his residence in Lagos and abducted him to stop his ‘Revolution Now’ protest which he was planning to stage to call for the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari on the grounds of his alleged poor handling of governance.
Despite repeated court orders granting bail to Mr Sowore, the SSS refused to release him until pressure from within and outside the country continued to mount on the Buhari administration regarding the matter.
He is currently standing trial for organising the Revolution Now protest at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The court had, in its ruling granting him bail in the case, confined him to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
This has, however, not deterred him from leading or participating in anti-government protests in the capital city.
Mr Sowore has been having a fierce altercation with Nigeria’s security operatives over his anti-government stance on issues of alleged human rights violations in the country.
Recalling one of his brutal encounters with armed security operatives in Abuja, Mr Sowore said, on Thursday, “The federal DSS Director of Operations even informed court security to ‘withdraw’ whenever I was to be attacked.
“Since my partial release in December 2019, the police and DSS have tried to maim or kill me in several documented/reported incidents of abuse and assault including shooting of a riot gun gun, physical attacks and recently the use of non-state actors to violently assault me in public,” Mr Sowore said.
SSS keeps mum
SSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, did not answer our reporter’s call, but sent a text message requesting that enquiries be sent to him via text message.
Although our reporter sent a text message to him asking him for his comments on Mr Sowore’s allegations, he has yet to respond as of the time of filing this report.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023