SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 3 – Nigerian youths and activists have expressed outrage over the reported arrest of protest leaders Omoyele Sowore and Abubakar Idris, known as Dadiyata.
Sahara Reporters, the media outfit Sowore founded announced his arrest in the early hours of Saturday, August 03.
Sowore’s arrest is connected to a planned protest against the Nigerian government tagged ‘Revolutionow! The protest, which is scheduled to kick off on Monday, August 5, is gathering momentum among Nigerian youths via the social media.
Sources told Today’s Echo that the Department of State Services(DSS), Nigeria’s secret police invaded Omoyele Sowore apartment in Ikeja and whisked him away to their office in Magodo in Magodo, Lagos. The DSS base in Magodo houses the facility where late democracy icon and former presidential winner, MKO Abiola was kept in the 90s by the military junta.
According to SaharaReporters, Sowore posted a distress tweet at exactly 1:25 am with an eyewitness confirming that his phone was forcefully taken from him.
Heavily armed security personnel believed to be operatives of the DSS reportedly arrested Abubakar Idriss, popularly known as Abu Hanifa Dadiyata in his Kaduna residence last night.
Dadiyata is an opposition activist and a fierce critic of the ruling APC government both at the national and state level.
His arrest was confirmed in a statement on Friday issued by Sanusi Bature Dawakin-Tofa, the spokesperson to the 2019 PDP governorship candidate for Kano State, Abba Yusuf. The statement called on the SSS to release Mr Dadiyata unhurt and without any condition.
“Report reaching us has confirmed that heavily armed security personnel believed to be operatives of the DSS have arrested Abubakar Idriss, popularly known as Abu Hanifa Dadiyata in his Kaduna residence last night.
“Dadiyata is the leading social media activist in Twitter community that protects and projects Kwankwasiyya ideology and the PDP in northern Nigeria,” the statement read in part.
The social media is already on fire in Nigeria as Nigerian youths call on the release of the activists. Revolutionnow, FreeSowore and FreeDadiyata are currently trending at the top three spots on Twitter. Many young people have expressed defiance, vowing to go ahead with the protests on Monday in the face of intimidation by the establishment.
“Fellow Nigerians, We must immediately start the Revolution with the demand of Omoyele’s release if we keep quiet we will all be killed one by one regardless of your affiliations or your smartness. We should all resist oppression in the interest of the next generation. Let’s demand Omoyele’s release now! #RevolutionNow,” a member of popular Nigerian online forum, Nairaland said.
Renowned social media personality, Japheth Omojuwa condemned the arrest.
“Nothing could be more daft! Of all the actions to take against a constitutionally and legally backed protest, the last should be an arrest of the convener,” Omojuwa said.
In response to Omojuwa, a Twitter user argued that Sowore was arrested because he is planning a revolution against the Nigerian government.
“Sowore is talking about stagging a revolution..I don’t think any govt in the world would have allowed such action unchecked. There’s deference btw holding a protest to demand certain things and stagging a revolution without any reason in a democracy!”
See more Tweets on the issue below:
If news report of DSS picking up @YeleSowore is confirmed then those behind his arrest sure did not learn from the past, he just had you were he wants you to be. Now we won’t know if #RevolutionNow would have really taken over Nigerian government on Monday. It’s now #FreeSowore— Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) August 3, 2019
In a country dealing with alarming rate of kidnapping, you ambushed and whisked a citizen away in the presence of his family, without any word or identifying yourself? Who are these morons working for the SSS? #FreeDadiyata— Gimba Kakanda (@gimbakakanda) August 2, 2019
So @dadiyata, a very vocal Atiku supporter and Ganduje critic was abducted by men allegedly working with the DSS. This brazen attempt to silence the opposition is really sad. Democracy thrives only when people of different leanings are allowed to speak freely. #FreeDadiyata— Chidi Okereke (@Chydee) August 2, 2019