The Department of State Services, DSS has responded to the serial misinformation being circulated in the media, alleging its involvement in the incident that occurred on 6th of December, 2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The response which was In a statement signed by the Services Public Relation Officer, Mr. Peter Afunanya, the DSS stated: “It is instructive to note that during the court proceeding of the day under reference, Defence Counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), called the attention of the Judge to a rumoured suspicion that the Service was planning to re-arrest Omoyele Sowore immediately after the court session.
Mr. Afunanya also said that the court discountenanced his alarm and asserted that the Service was law abiding and would not engage in such an act and subsequently adjourned to February, 2020.
The PRO said: “A critical look at the videos in circulation would convince any objective viewer that there was no DSS personnel inside the courtroom during the entire period the Sowore crowd acted out its orchestrated drama. DSS personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident.
However, when Sowore stepped out of the courtroom and sighted operatives of the Service within the premises, he ran back into the building. His uncontrollable supporters then mobbed him while chanting: “you can’t arrest him” thus the pandemonium that ensued.”
In actual fact, it was Sowore’s people who seized him. And from the latest developments, it has become obvious what the intent for such mischief was meant for – simply to serve a propagandist purpose as well as bring the Service to disrepute, Mr. Afunanya stated.
He explained: Eye witness and several media accounts have disclosed that the Court had adjourned peacefully without any untoward incident when suddenly the unruly crowd imported into the Courtroom went into frenzy on the mere suspicion that DSS was sighted at the court premises. The eventual re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS was effected outside the courtroom. His lead counsel has affirmed this.”
The spokesperson of the Service also emphasised that the “DSS, as a professional, responsible and law abiding organisation, could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who was not only handling its case but whose order the service had 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.”
Mr Afunanya drew attention to a statement credited to Sowore on the 25th of July 2019 in which he stated: “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care.”
On the 5th of December, Sowore upon his release from custody, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country.”
Mr Afunanya recalled that the Service had on 3rd December, 2019 raised alarm about a plot to destabilize the country. He warned that that plot had already started playing out.
“To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organise an insurrection in the country. They have continued to falsely curry and mobilise international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends,” Mr Afunanya said.
Sowore is facing trial for resorting to a call for violence, forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities.
Mr Afunanya pointed out that it was most unfortunate that Sowore, shortly after being released from custody based on court order, resorted to acts inimical to security. To this effect, only Sowore has been re-arrested. His co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was not picked up.
“Though sections of the populace have been fed with spurious narratives about these developments, Nigerians and the International Community should not be gullible or even vulnerable to the machinations of groups desirous of misleading them,” Afunanya stated.
The spokesman added that the Service remained committed to the discharge of its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of Nigeria.