Senate reacts to Sowore’s arrest, court invasion by SSS


Nigerian Senate on Thursday ordered its committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate Friday’s invasion of a federal high court and re-arrest Omoyele Sowore by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS).
Opeyemi Bamidele representing Ekiti Central and also serves as the chairman of the committee raised the matter during plenary on Thursday.
Bamidele said the invasion and the dramatic re-arrest of Sowore have generated widespread controversies.
“The leaders and members of the judiciary are particularly concerned about this happening because they believe that the courtroom is meant to be a sanctuary,” Bamidele said.
“But for us as a Senate, we cannot begin to take a position or analyse issues based on conclusions without facts.
“Yet, much as we cannot just jump into conclusions, we cannot pretend not to know that Nigerians are concerned about this development,” he said.
Bamidele prayed that as elected representatives of the people, the Senate mandates its committee on National Security and Intelligence to interface with the relevant security agencies and investigate the matter and report back to this Senate.
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan  said the matter be investigated by the Judiciary committee. The committee is expected to submit its report in one week.
The lawmakers reaction comes almost a week after the incident.
Sowore was arrested alongside another activist, Olawale Bakare, on August 3 for planning a protest to call for good governance.
They were charged with treasonable felony, fraud and cyber-stalking President Muhammadu Buhari.
The court granted the duo bail twice but the SSS refused to release them until last Thursday – when the secret police was also fined.
However, less than 24 hours later, the SSS invaded the federal high court Sowore was standing the trail in attempt to allegedly re-arrest him.
Sowore’s lawyer Femi Falana told AFP on Friday that his client escaped being picked up by DSS in the court premises. He said he “personally drove him” to DSS office on Friday “to avoid violence”.
The controversial re-arrest added to growing concerns about Nigeria’s democracy and press freedom which critics say is under pressure.