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The Legality of Sowore’s Revolutionary Call, According To Falana

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Nigeria News takes a look at the legality of Sowore’s call for revolution as dissected by Femi Falana.

The Human Rights Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana is so sure that he can get the publisher of the online medium, Mr. Omoyele Sowore out of the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS).

To him, Sowore has not committed any offence by organizing a “RevolutionaryNow” protest and detaining him will amount to a breach of his fundamental human rights.

The DSS’ plot to seek a court order to detain Sowore for three months did not scale through. Yet the publisher cum politician is yet to be charged for any offence at the court.

Analysing the unlawful arrest of Sowore, Falana has this to say, “I wasn’t quite surprised that the State Security Service decided to pick Omoyele Sowore up. I wasn’t in any way surprised because we are under a government that has now come to the conclusion, and a very dangerous one that every criticism, every opposition is treasonable.

Every criticism of the government is now classified as terrorism and those who are behind such opposition will be crushed. I have been in touch with the officials of the State Security Service.

Sowore has been held incommunicado for some days. He was moved from Lagos to Abuja. We have not been able to locate him.

I have read the Police statement and I think the extrapolation of the police is quite embarrassing and I’m sure the meaning ascribed to the protest or the revolution is likely to have embarrassed the government.

Because neither under the criminal code or terrorism act is the word revolution criminalized. After the general election in 2015, the APC was proud and happy when it was said that it had led the Nigeria democratic revolution, which unseated the PDP.

In May this year, there was a debate in the National Assembly. The Senate debated that a looming revolution in Nigeria was nipped in the bud.

And their candidates during the last election who were asking Nigerians to cause a revolution on the day of election by unseating the PDP.

So it is not the word revolution that would lead to a crime in the country. Treason and felony and terrorism are clearly defined under our law. Treason is the levying of war to intimidate the president or governor of a State while a treasonable felony is the formation of the intention to remove the president of a country during his tenure otherwise by constitutional means.

I have read the demands of the organisers of this protest and I have not seen any aspect of it that can be classified as treason or any act of terrorism.

In any case, section 39 and 40 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have recognized the fundamental rights of every Nigeria to assemble with others and protest against or for the government.

Incidentally, when Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, another LEADER of the defunct ANPP had their rally in Kano disrupted on September 22, 2003, I was briefed to challenge the action of the police.

And from the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal, we won the case. That was when the court declared the police permit on protest as illegal and unconstitutional in Nigeria.

In fact, the law has gone beyond that, by 2015, the national assembly amended the electoral act to defend that the provision of the public order act and other laws in the country during a protest, the police shall provide security for the conveners and the participants.

So what is required of the police is to ensure that the protesters are protected. Nigerians have the right to protest for or against the government.

The last protest led by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was on the 19th of November 2014 where him and other leaders of the APC protested against the insecurity of the country.

So if other Nigerians are protesting against the worsening insecurity in Nigeria and demanding job creation for an army of our unemployed youths. If they challenging the income disparity in the country and if they are asking the payment of the N30, 000 minimum wage and others.

Those demands cannot be classified as mutinous and treasonable. We are not a conquered people. The police and security agents will have to appreciate that we are not a conquered people.

Therefore, you cannot continue to terrorize Nigerians by invoking the provision of terrorism act or criminal code act. We are not going to allow any group of people to abrogate the rights we have won in Nigeria.

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