Truckloads of security operatives on Wednesday barricaded Civil Society groups and activists who gathered at the Unity Fountain Abuja to demand for the release of former Presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) in the last general elections and convener of #RevolutionNow, Omowole Sowore.
The Unity Fountain had a semblance of a war front zone, with heavy presence of Military men, the Police, operatives of the Department of Security Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, officers of Nigerian Prison Service, who besieged the protesters without a breathing space.
Sowore, who is also the publisher of SaharaReporters was arrested by the operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, two weeks ago after he vowed to mobilise Nigerians to the streets for the #RevolutionNow protest.
Federal government with determination to bridle the freedom of the activist has also used the DSS to secure a Federal High Court ex-parte order to detain him for 45 days.
Despite the barrage of security operatives at the Abuja Unity Fountain, activists still demonstrated, demanding for the immediate release of Sowore and other “prisoners of conscience “.
The protesters led by Deji Adeyanju, the convener of Concerned Nigerians, (CN) said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has continued to take imprison Nigerians who dared to criticise his ‘” maladministration” and has no deference for divergent opinion.
Adeyanju, who vowed that the proponents of #FreeSowore protest will never be cowed by Federal government’s battalion of security operatives, also stated that Buhari pretended that he was a repentant democrat, just because he wanted to steal the confidence and votes of Nigerians.
He said that both Sowore, Dadi Yata, Jones Abiri, Steven Kefas and other social and media critics who have been held by this present administration as prisoners of conscience, represent uncountable numbers of Nigerians who are victims of maladministration of Buhari’s led government in Nigeria.
According to him, even if Buhari withdraws all the security operatives deployed to fight insurgency at Northeast and other parts of the country, to stop the #FreeSowore activists, the protest will not stop.
Another activist, Rapheal Adebayo said that even if Buhari should arrest more of Sowores, one million more will arise to fight his dictatorial policies, meant to muzzle the people’s freedom.
Adebayo stated that the protest was not just for the freedom of Sowore and other “prisoners of conscience” but for the soul of Nigeria, which the present government wants to stampede at all cost.
Also speaking, the Deputy President of Middle Belt Forum, Ndi Kato, said the protest will be sustained until the government learn to respect the will of the people.
Kato noted that Nigerians having survived the era of Military dictatorship in the past must not allow anybody in any disguise to derail the fledgling democracy that was fought and won on the blood of patriotic countrymen.
“It is high times that we allow go the shackles of our military dictatorship, we cannot have 20 years of Military dictatorship and still allow the shackles to remain with us. The modus oprandis of criminal and government’s abduction has remained the same, when someone is taken, we do not know where the person is taken to,” she noted.