Protesters in front the UN building in New York on 19 September protesting against the detention of Omoyele Sowore despite court rulings granting him bail. Refusal to obey court orders sends a message to foreign investors that there is no rule of law in Nigeria, say analysts / Photo: Sowore2019

Sowore: ‘I will never insult Buhari again’ – Nigerians react to govt. charges against activist

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.

Omoyele Sowore (middle) campaigning in the run up to the February 2019 presidential election at which he was a candidate. Sowore, founder of Sahara Reporters, an online news agency based in New York City that focuses on corruption, human rights abuses and other political misconduct in Nigeria, was arrested 2 August 2019 and detained by the Nigerian authorities /Photo: Sowore2019/Facebook


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.

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