Reactions have continued to trail Nigerian government’s decision to formally file charges against Omoyele Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow protest, especially the one bothering on insulting the president.
The federal government filed seven counts of treasonable felony and money laundering against Sowore on Thursday.
The government is also accusing the human rights activist of causing insult to the person of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, is charged along with Olawale Bakare, also known as Mandate.
The charges were filed a day before the expiration of the detention order of the Federal High Court in Abuja permitting the Department of State Service to keep the activist for 45 days.
The detention order elapses on September 21.
In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant of committing conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of section 516 of the Criminal Code Act by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on September 5, 2019 aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offence of reasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.
It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Sowore has been in detention since August 2, when he was arrested on the eve of a nationwide protest which was scheduled to hold on August 5.
After his arrest, there was a crackdown on #RevolutionNow protesters by security agents around the country on the day the protest was scheduled to hold.
Wole Soyinka has condemned the action of the government, describing it as a sign of paranoia.
Following the news that Sowore was being charged for, among other offences, insulting the president, Nigerians took to social media to react.
After this sowore news, I no go ever insult buhari again, I no wan go jail abeg
— jesus lastborn🥰 (@Haywhy_O) September 21, 2019
It’s really sad to watch. The young man means well for our Dear Nigeria. Who is next? I plead for Sowore #FreeSowore
— ITS DONJAZZY AGAIN😉 (@DONJAZZY) September 21, 2019
It's now a crime to insult the president
One of the charges against Sowore is for insulting Buhari
With a rubber-stamp National Assembly, a bill may be passed to that effect
— Uche (@ubig1) September 21, 2019
I think I want to finally leave for Canada. Buhari charging sowore for insult and cyberstalking is uncalled for. It only proves that the country have a To-do list of misplaced priorities. Infact It’s verified that we dwell in a sick nation. please when is the next bus leaving .
— that✨ igbo💫 girl🌟 (@_jennyphar) September 21, 2019
When Goodluck Jonathan @GEJonathan heard that Sowore who was paid to insult him between 2011-2015 in Favour of Buhari is being charged for insulting Buhari. I don't want to interfere in a family matter abeg. 😂😂🤣#FreeSowore#FreeSoworeNow#BBNaija#VoiceOfTheDon pic.twitter.com/v662hZB5cO
— Emmanuel Emmanuel (@Manny_udoh_Jr) September 21, 2019
Insult is not a crime. It’s a personal issue; best you can do is sue for libel. We don’t have Lese Majeste law in Nigeria 🇳🇬 insulating the president from insults.
FG charges Sowore with treasonable felony, accuses him of insulting Buhari https://t.co/m5EyQdaYM0 via @MobilePunch
— Bolaji (@BolajiAremo) September 20, 2019
#FG charges Sowore with treasonable felony, accuses him of insulting Buhari https://t.co/P2hdZcu1ma via @MobilePunch. REALLY? FELONY & INSULTING @MBuhari ? WHICH SITTING GOVT DID @MBuhari NOT INSULT? HE EVEN THREATENED VIOLENCE IN GEJ’S ERA & WASN’T QUESTIONED BY SECURITY AGENTS.
— Bede Anunne (@bede_O) September 20, 2019
“…the government accused Sowore of granting an interview which purpose caused insult on the person of the president of the country.”
You guys are not alright inside that Villa. Seriously? Next thing may be accusing Buhari’s critics of blasphemy. 😂 https://t.co/dcwi3A8XVv
— Gimba Kakanda (@gimbakakanda) September 20, 2019