The U.S. government has expressed deep concern after men of the State Security Service (SSS) invaded court and rearrested Nigerian activist, Omoyele Sowore.
Reacting, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor of the U.S. State Department expressed American government’s stance on its official Twitter handle.
“We are deeply concerned that #Sowore has been re-detained in #Nigeria, shortly after a court-ordered he be released on bail. Respect for rule of law, judicial independence, political and media freedom, and due process are key tenets of #democracy”, it wrote.
Mr Sowore, who was arrested for calling for protests to demand good governance, was released on Thursday by the SSS after spending 125 days in detention despite two court orders mandating his release.
He is accused of treason and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.
The SSS released him only after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu handed a 24-hour ultimatum to the service. However, early Friday, heavily armed SSS agent invaded the court, physically assaulted and rearrested Mr Sowore.
A PREMIUM TIMES report revealed that armed agents entered the courtroom as the judge, lawyers and journalists scurried for cover.
Despite witnesses and video evidence, the SSS denied invading the court. The agency’s reaction is coming amidst widespread outrage over the conduct of the secret police.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Peter Afunnaya, the SSS (also called DSS) said Mr Sowore was mobbed by his “supporters” who were trying to shield him from “an imaginary arrest.”
“The DSS, as a professional, responsible and law-abiding organization, could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who is not only handling its case but whose Order was unconditionally obeyed within a 24-hour ultimatum. The Service holds the judiciary in utmost respect and will continue to work with it for national peace and public safety in Nigeria.”
The agency did not, however, state why it rearrested the activist who it is still holding as at Sunday morning.