Former Nigeria vice president Atiku Abubakar on Friday said the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to arrest Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore was a violation of democratic norms.
“Nigeria is not a dictatorship,” Atiku tweeted.
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“We are a democracy, no matter how inconvenient this fact is to the powers that have forced themselves on us.”
“To keep Nigeria a democracy is the paramount duty of all concerned stakeholders. Please speak up against this tyranny and side with the Nigerian people.”
Operatives of the Department of Security Service (DSS) on Friday re-arrested Sowore barely 24hours after his release.
Sowore was released on Thursday night after the court gave Nigeria’s secret police a 24-hour ultimatum to release him.
The court also awarded N100,000 against the prosecution for failing to comply with court orders requesting the release of Sowore and for not serving the defence counsel with necessary documents early enough.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu after court proceedings adjourned the case till February 11 and 12 and 13, 2020 for definite hearing.
But as everyone filed out of the courtroom, no fewer than 15 armed officers of the DSS, who had laid an ambush for the defendants, made their way towards Sowore and his co-defendant Bakare.
There was a stampede as the officers cocked their guns scaring people away.
Sowore and Bakare, however, resisted being rearrested, running back into the courtroom.
The development led to the disruption of the court sitting as the judge hurriedly retired to her chamber while the court workers, lawyers, and journalists scampered for safety.
Amidst the commotion that pervaded the courtroom, the officers of the DSS stood their ground on rearresting the defendants.
Atiku, a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election alongside Sowore, said the desecration of the courtroom was a show of tyranny by the Nigerian government.
“Never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a judge been treated in such a disdainful and brazen attack on not just her person and office, but on the entire judiciary. This is unacceptable. It is a rape on the sanctity of the court,” Atiku said.
Atiku said it was inappropriate for the selectively obey foreign court orders and even quicker to disobey domestic court orders.
The former vice president posited that without the rule of law, there can be no rule in the country.
He called on “all men and women of goodwill not to keep quiet or sit on the fence at times like this.”