Sowore: Mr President, is Nigeria still governed by rule of law?

The re-arrest of Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services (DSS) is no longer news. But it has since posed a striking question on the mind of every Nigerian, as many wonder if Nigeria is still governed by democratic principles.

This is one of those rare times when Nigerians have been unanimously outraged regarding a matter of national interest, as hardly would you find anyone to throw his or her weight behind the DSS’ actions.

In what can least be described as an abuse of the country’s judicial system, and intimidation of everyone’s human rights, the DSS forcefully re-arrested Sowore despite multiple court rulings to have him released.

Barely 24 hours after being released as ordered by the Federal High Court, some DSS officials invaded the courtroom and held Omoyele Sowore hostage, after which he was taken into custody. [Sahara Reporters/Twitter]

Barely 24 hours after being released as ordered by the Federal High Court, some DSS officials invaded the courtroom and held Omoyele Sowore hostage, after which he was taken into custody. [Sahara Reporters/Twitter]

While the DSS’ action of invading a Federal High Court proceedings and re-arresting the defendant barely 24 hours after releasing him is confusing, it is also pertinent to note that the democracy on which the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration rode into power has been put to shame.

Under the incumbent government, Nigerians have experienced questionable decision upon questionable decision from the presidency, one of which is the most recently-experienced.

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Mr President, should the judiciary be scrapped?

If the presidency doesn’t respect the rule of law put in place, there may not be a better time for it to go the entire way and consider scrapping the judiciary system than now. Because what is the point of having the rule of law if it is so casually trampled upon by the highest office in the country?

This is not the first time the Federal Government has defied a court order since Buhari became the president.

When a court ruled in July 2018 that former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, be freed on bail, it was the sixth time the court would pass such judgment since his detention in 2015.

Sadly, the Nigerian authorities didn’t obey a single one.

Similarly, the government had also been ordered to set the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim, free.

Despite multiple court orders to release the Shiite leader, the government refused to release him from custody.

For Buhari’s critics, the president is selective about which court order to comply with, a recurring trait that has since been stirring unmistakable echoes of his days as a military ruler when he first helmed the affairs of the country.

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The wake-up call for Nigeria

Sowore’s re-arrest in the courtroom, the subject of so much chaos caught on camera, is a wake-up call for Nigerians.

If people at the helm of affairs of the country, particularly the number one citizen, have no regard for the rule of law, then justice would over time be trampled upon to the detriment of democracy.

Although the president, a “reformed democrat”, has denied a possible third term in government as speculated in certain media reports, it wouldn’t be surprising should that happen in the near future, and maybe nobody will even challenge it.

Is it not worrisome to know that the National Assembly has been distancing itself from a matter of national interest which is Sowore’s illegal detention?

In this present dispensation, for a ‘giant Africa’, is it not puzzling that elected lawmakers are committed to passing both the hate speech and social media bills into law?

Despite the repeated disobedience of court orders, does it not bother you that the country’s Chief Justice is unbothered?

At this stage, only an unintelligent person would say it is impossible for democracy to be a thing of the past in the country.

Is that what you want, Mr President?

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