Full text of press statement
WE CALL ON RETIRED GENERAL BUHARI-LED DICTATORSHIP TO WITHDRAW ALL TRUMPED-UP CHARGES AGAINST POLITICAL DETAINEES OR FACE #OCCUPY
NIGERIANOW MASS PROTESTS
*RELEASE OMOYELE SOWORE IMMEDIATELY
(Text of the Press Statement of Civil Society Groups to defend Democracy holden at CDHR National Secretariat, 43, Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos State on Monday, 9th December, 2019 )
We, the under-signed civil society groups hereby issues the Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led dictatorship 7-days ultimatum to release all unjustly detained political prisoners, which shall cease and dissipate on the 16th December, 2019 failing which we will unleash #OccupyNigeria
Now mass movement on the streets of the country nationwide commencing on 17th December, 2019.
We unequivocally call for the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore who was illegally re-arrested after being released on bail, pursuant to the order of Honourable Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu during the pendency of his trial.
We also call seized of the statement credited to the Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency justifiying Omoyele Sowore’s treatment at the Federal High Court, Abuja, wherein operatives of the Department of State Services physically brutalised the journalist in a grand attempt to arrest him during the pendency of his trial proceedings before Honourable Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.
We categorically condemn to assertion contained in the statement credited to the Presidency that “detained activist, Omoyele Sowore, is a person of interest to a security organ like the Department of State Services, which does not need the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to do its work whenever it needs to act”.
We are aghast but not suprised that the Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency backs the barbaric invasion of the Courts by the Department of State Services in the last episode of the movie series of the regime to drown out every voice of genuine opposition. While activists like Omoyele Sowore are being haunted down like wolves, the well-known life pension-collecting ex-Governors who have robbed their respective states blind are walking the streets free. This is also added to the anti-poor elements that make up the ruling elite Assembly called the National Assembly as well as their fellow travelers at states’ and local governments.
We are appalled by the statement of the Presidency that “…noted that Sowore’s antecedents and actions ordinarily make him a person of interest to the DSS”. We are fully aware that Omoyele Sowore and other activists both in custody of various detention cells have become “person(s) of interest” to the Presidency since their readiness to provide mass opposition to the avalanche of neo-liberal attacks , including but not limited to the Value Added Tax Hike , commencing from 2nd January, 2020.
We condemn the position of the Presidency that
“….the agency (Department of State Services) had acted within its constitutional powers and did not need to seek Buhari’s approval to act on security matters”
We view this as a pat on the back for all the breaches of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which reinforces our argument that the regime has become a civilian dictatorship.
We hereby places the responsibility of the barbaric incident of 7th December, 2019 at the feet of the Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency. We call on the whole world to hold Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency responsible for any untoward event that befalls Omoyele Sowore and the disappearance of Olawale Bakare.
We are aware that the regime has flooded the entire country with operatives of the Department of State Services to break up mass protests , disrupt press conferences and Mass meetings , arrest, detain activists and kill protesters. We hereby call on the whole world to hold the Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency for any sudden disappearance or death of activists in any part of the country.
We call on Nigerians to view this avalanche of terror unleashed by the General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency as a preparation for repression of resistance against anti-poor attacks such as Value Added Tax Hike commencing on 2nd January, 2020, nationwide implementation of bogus bank charges, electricity tarrif hikes , tuition fee hikes among others.
We hereby call on the students’ movement, labour movement and the entire civil society movement to join us in this struggle. We call for formation of Action Committees in the communities and workplaces at street, neighbourhood, townships and citywide basis to begin the process for discussion on action and self defence against infiltration of secret police agents.
We call on the labour movement in particular to see this derogation of democratic rights by the Retired General Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency as preparation of the hangman’s noose to behead the possible outbreak of mass Workers’ struggle against implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage in the coming period.
We call on the labour centres to call a one-day national day of protests as a preparation for a one-day warning general strike , as the dictatorial regime continue to bare its fangs.
We will keep our friends in the media aware of our next line of actions.
THE PEOPLE UNITED SHALL NEVER BE DEFEATED!
For: African Action Congress, Lagos State.
For: Socialist Workers’ League.
Co-spokerson, Save Climate and Democracy Naija Coalition