Barely 24 hours after the release of Omoyele Sowore by the State Security Service (illegally known as Department of State Services, DSS), the security agency has rearrested Sowore after the court adjourned his matter to February, 2020. Sowore was arrested right inside the courtroom by heavily armed SSS operatives who chased away the sitting judge from the Temple of Justice and consequently disrupted court proceedings – an offence under the law.
There can be no sound justification for the dehumanizing, inhumane and shameful manner in which Sowore was rearrested right inside the court of law, a place that ought to be the last hope of the common man. Some supporters of the present administration, in their usual style, have raised some rather watery defences for the gangsterism displayed by the SSS. First, they said Sowore has breached his bail conditions. That excuse is just too lame and devoid of common sense. Sowore has breached none of his bail conditions as it was never part of the bail conditions that Sowore should not address the press.
Second, let us even assume, without conceding, that Sowore has breached his bail conditions, where does the SSS derive the power to arrest on that ground? If Sowore had even violated his bail conditions, the basic adjectival law is for the SSS to apply to the court to have the bail revoked and not to criminally rearrest him. Or how do we fathom the contemptuous arrest of the pro-democracy campaigner?
Frankly, the unfortunate rearrest points to the fact that the law no longer rule in Nigeria. The rulership – as opposed to leadership – of this country is in the hands of Buhari who lawlessly carries out his despotism through the security agencies. He has successfully unleashed terror on the people of Nigeria and he is not pretentious about this.
As we speak, Nigeria is in a military dictatorship where the law means nothing. Buhari started by waging a serious war at the media. Reports have it that over 71 journalists have been attacked, arrested and detained since 2015 that Buhari got to power. Later, he moved to the judiciary. He invaded homes of judges at odd hours, unlawfully removed a Chief Justice of Nigeria under complex circumstances and perpetually disregard court orders. All these were deliberate – for once the media and judiciary are defeated, nothing is left of a democracy.
To be clear, this is a direct assault on the rule of law and our dying democracy. With the barbaric rearrest of Sowore, our democracy has been organized a befitting requiem. The brutal violation of our laws and disregard to courts directives are enough to remind us that our democracy has been subverted by the government of the day. This country has under Buhari’s thorough supervision gone to the dogs.
Lamentably, the judiciary that ought to be the most revered institution in the land has been ridiculed, embarrassed and castrated. There is nothing left of our judiciary if the gory re-arrest took place inside the court of law during court proceedings. The attack on the judiciary is distasteful and unpardonable. Never was it known in the history of Nigeria, not even during the locust days of the military, that the court is treated with such level of ignominy. It shows clearly that the rulership of Nigeria doesn’t give a damn about the judiciary! What then is left of this country?
This Buhari has not changed and that is why those who know him beyond “Agbada” may not be too surprised. One who despicably rape the rule of law can commit the greatest atrocity in power. He is an unrepentant tyrant who cannot be comfortable with democratic rules and principles. He is a lawless old man whose interest is to rule like King Nebuchadnezzar.
Now that it is obvious that rule of law means nothing and only the orders of a tyrant President stand as the law, I ask: when will the Constitution be suspended? For as we speak, the 1999 Constitution is a worthless and useless piece of legislation. The dictatorship we live in should be formalized because our Constitution is as good as being suspended. Why can’t he just suspend it so he can have a smooth “ride”? It is better we live in the reality of a totalitarian government that we currently operate than to keep wallowing under the illusion of a democracy.
Where law ends, tyranny begins. Before Buhari and his bitter supporters would turn our beloved country to a complete Banana Republic, we must rise as a people and speak in one voice. Let it be known that no despot can defeat the good people of Nigeria. Buhari would be conquered and get trashed in the dustbin of history. Or where is Abacha today?
We must stand up and reclaim our country from a wicked, evil, puerile and lawless ruler. Anarchy looms, if we fail to do this.
Festus Ogun is a lawyer-in-equity, human rights activist and convener of Legal Minds for Good Governance Initiative (LMGGi). firstname.lastname@example.org 09066324982 .