By Chukwu Chikwado Raphael, UNILAG Law
Nigeria human right
The problem with the human right community in Nigeria has always been that there are many crooks and dishonest people among them, and they are the most vocal ones.
Remember how vocal and a champion of human rights Festus Keyamo were until the arrival of Buhari?
Remember how quiet Femi Fani-Kayode was when Obasanjo committed war crimes in Odi and Jegun?
Even today when FFK discusses the Nigerian civil war crimes, doesn’t he make it look as if Buhari fought against Ojukwu alone, doesn’t he make it look as if Obasanjo and Adekunle were not among the Nigerian commanders attacking the Biafrans?
How many times has FFK admitted publicly that Obafemi Awolowo, not Buhari, was behind the policy that killed hundreds of thousands of Biafran children with starvation?
This selective honesty and deliberate amnesia among the Nigerian human rights community is their greatest undoing.
Sowore has become a human rights advocate just because APC did not hire him again. Otherwise, when the same APC paid him millions to attack the most peaceful president of Nigeria, Jonathan, where was Sowore’s human right mind?
Today, everybody with a grudge against Buhari has come out to use Sowore case to pretend to be a human right fighter.
When Shehu Sani was a leading light in APC, what did he think of Buhari?
In 2011, Sowore and Ambassador Ade Adefuye conspired with Farida Waziri of EFCC to place Emeka Ugwuonye’s name on a DSS list and Emeka was kidnapped at Murtala Mohammed International Airport by the DSS on Februay 13, 2011.
Sahara Reporters gave DSS and EFCC the moral and media support by declaring Emeka Ugwuonye a rogue lawyer; What about Emeka Ugwuonye’s rights then? We just pity the poor ignorant masses that are being misled by very extremely dishonest people pretending to be human right activists.
From the follow media report, sponsored by Sowore’s friends, it is clear that DSS has been fair to Sowore and the treated him in accordance with the international standards:
Punch Newspaper reported as follows: After each statement from Punch, I will add a note to explain:
PUNCH: The co-convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, who has been in the detention of the Department of State Services since August 3, 2019, has accused the DSS of maltreating him.
“I was abducted in the middle of the night.
I was taken to one of their facilities in Lagos. I was beaten up, rough-handled on my way to the facility in the car.
And my cousin, who was in the room with me, was also beaten and handcuffed, and my properties were forcefully seized. And when I got there, of course, the maltreatment continued, they threw me on a cold floor and locked the door.”
NOTE: Why does he call it abduction? It was a valid arrest procedure under Nigerian law. Nowhere in the world is a suspect allowed to choose the time of day or place where he prefers to be arrested.
The arresting authority will take you by surprise that is the best way to arrest a person, especially if the alleged offence is a serious one.
NOTE: It was a proper procedure to restrain the person arrested and people with him if it is perceived by the arresting authority that they may resist arrest.
It will be wrong to beat Sowore during arrest, but we doubt that he was beaten.
Femi Falana, Sowore’s lawyer already made a statement on the arrest and treatment of Sowore during his arrest, and nowhere did Falana indicate there was maltreatment and we believe that would have been the first thing Sowore would tell his lawyer.
So, Sowore is making this up now to look more like a victim.
PUNCH: “I had no contact with even the guards for two nights; I was in that facility before I was flown here by your agents. So, I was seriously maltreated,” Sowore reportedly said during an interrogation session by DSS operatives.”
NOTE: The offense you were arrested for was treason, it is a serious offense.
Those who arrested you in Lagos were to move you to Abuja where your case was to be processed; two days to move you to Abuja are a reasonable period.
When Emeka Ugwuonye was arrested in 2011 with your help and connivance, it took 24 hours for DSS to transfer Emeka from their Ikoyi office to EFCC Ikoyi office; and it took EFCC Lagos from February 15 to February 18 to transfer Emeka from Lagos to Abuja, where he was detained for 90 days without any court order, but because Emeka is an Igbo man, Wole Soyinka did not speak and Falana was nowhere; And you Sowore was using Sahara Reporters to demonize Emeka Ugwuonye and praising EFCC for capturing a hardened criminal, whom you called a rogue lawyer.
PUNCH: “The National Legal Adviser of African Action Congress, the political party on whose platform Sowore contested the presidential race in this year’s general elections, Inibehe Effiong shared the “Transcript from DSS Interrogation of Sowore upon Abduction – Excerpt 1,” on his Facebook page on Monday.
According to the transcript, Sowore was interrogated by five DSS operatives in the presence of his lawyer, one “Barrister Sam.”
NOTE: DSS interrogated Sowore in the presence of his lawyer. What else does he want? That is the international best practice.
Do you know that 98% of Nigerians facing criminal trials in various Nigerian courts were not allowed to see a lawyer until they had confessed and been paraded by the police? And Nigerian judges pretend they don’t see that. Sowore received better treatment from DSS than he would receive from the FBI in New York.
Usman Usman fair interogation
PUNCH: “One Usman Usman, a DSS operative, who led the interrogation, was said to have told Sowore that, “We’ll be asking you questions and our advice is for you to be truthful to the best of your knowledge. We’ll not force you to say anything. Whatever question we ask and you have a problem with or you don’t have an answer to or you don’t want to answer, there is no compulsion, you simply tell us you’re not going to answer these questions.”
When asked by Usman to say “If in the course of your being here anybody has molested you in any way or maltreated you?” Sowore said, “Yes,” and went on to give the response above.”
NOTE: DSS Officer Usman acted very professionally and followed world standard in interrogating Sowore, He did not yell at him, He did not threaten him, and He read his rights to him. Compared to the FBI procedure in terrorism and treasonable cases, Sowore would have faced far more aggressive interrogation techniques. So, the DSS was extremely fair to him.
PUNCH: “On whether he was denied food, the detainee said, “While in your facility in Lagos, yes, but I decided that because of their hostility I won’t take any food until I am allowed to talk to a lawyer. I continued to refuse food; until I was allowed to speak with a lawyer, and I have seen my lawyer, but I am still being denied access to my immediate family.”
NOTE: It is natural that most people arrested will refuse food from the officers. It is a standard and subconscious way to protest against your arrest and to adjust to the detention environment. However, when they get really hungry, they will start eating, this happens around the world.
Nobody arrested will tell you he found the detention food delicious.
PUNCH: “Asked if he had made calls to his family members, Sowore replied his interrogator, “I’ve not made any calls to them. My brother is outside; he wasn’t allowed to see me as we speak.”
Access to Lawyer and family member
NOTE: Punch reported what happened in the first few days of Sowore’s arrest. It is normal, as long as you had access to your lawyer.
Most laws in the world will say “lawyer or family member”, not “lawyer and family member”. And family member does not mean “every family member”, If allowed to speak with you wife, you may not be allowed to also speak with your brother, your mother, your children especially in the first few days of your detention.
Yes, we may have other reasons to condemn DSS, but not the reasons Sowore and his friends are giving us. DSS has been quite professional in dealing with Sowore, even Falana cannot fault them.
They obtained a court order to detain him.
They charged him before the 45 days approved by court expired.
They will arraign him this week and the court will remand him in prison.
There is really no easy way to fault DSS; you may quarrel with Nigerian laws that gave DSS its powers or quarrel with the courts for not using their discretionary powers to block DSS. But that is a different thing altogether.
Don’t make a fool of yourself by writing nonsense on your social media attacking blindly.
OTHER ARTICLE FROM CHIKWADO: THAT WHICH IS OKAY AND THAT WHICH IS NOT-CHIKWADO THE BLIND POET