“ In line with the provisions of Section 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and in compliance with the bail granted to Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release”,,, “ This administration remains unrelenting in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general” Abubakar Malami (SAN) Attorney General of the Federation.
Thanks but no thanks to the Attorney General of the Federation for ordering their release. One wonders what took him this long to intervene, or did he forget that justice delayed is justice denied. Dasuki was in detention for over four years with several court orders for his release which President Buhari disobeyed. Now that this government has started “obeying court orders” they should go ahead and obey other court orders for the release of other detainees such as the Shiite leader Ibrahim El Zakzaky etc. It is also very laughable that the AGF alleged this government is unrelenting in deepening the rule of law, because Nigerians cannot be deceived. However, it would be a great idea if this government starts today to adhere to the rule of law. Aside what the Attorney General said, below are the actual reasons while Sowore was released.
The American Factor.
Touch not an American citizen for they shall come after you. It all started when Sowore was re-arrested on the 6th December 2019 at the Federal High Court Abuja following which Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey issued a press conference where he also issued threats against Nigeria. Soon other American Senators joined. Senator Chris Coons (the Vice Chair of the US Senate Ethics Committee and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations) raised his concern about Sowore’s detention. New York Senator (Chuck Schumer) asked Buhari to obey court order and release Sowore. Meanwhile a civil society organization in Nigeria called Friends of Democracy condemned the interference of US Senators on Nigeria’s domestic affairs, due to Sowore’s case. Unfortunately no Nigerian Senator or House of Representatives member spoke against the government.
Four US Senators (Robert Menendez, Charles Schumer, Christopher Coons, Cory A) with two members of US Congress (Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer) wrote a powerful threatening letter to our Attorney General of the Federation on 20th December 2019 demanding for the release of Sowore. At the same time of letter, the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform sitting on the subject of US Counterterrorism Priorities and Challenges in Africa, Judd Devermont, the Africa Program Director at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies advised US lawmakers to stand up for human rights and democracy. He said such a stance was fundamental to US counterterrorism strategy. “If a government is guilty of gross human rights violations, it is in the US interest to first withhold assistance and then take all necessary measures to resume engagement”. In 2017, Nigeria received $644 million in foreign aid from the United States (Qz.com).
Coincidentally, President Buhari received letters of credence from the new US Ambassador to Nigeria Ms Mary Beth Leonard on Tuesday 24th December 2019, after which Sowore and Dasuki were released. The body language of President Buhari was not funny at a picture season taken with the new ambassador. It is evidently possible that further warning was embedded in her letter of credence to President Buhari. A Riot Act read to oga at Aso Rock. Here is what Buhari said to her, “the recent listing of Nigeria for human rights concerns created an impression that some people were being unfairly treated or marginalized in the country. I know that those with access have created an impression of being marginalized. I sit here with a clear conscience. I took an oath and I am honouring the office”. You don’t mess about with America and especially with a President like Trump. Recall that he once described our president as lifeless. Therefore, the powers that be at Aso Rock does not want another embarrassment from Trump.
The IPOB Factor.
Sowore met with Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) shortly before he returned to Nigeria to start his revolution now. In fact this was part of the question the DSS were asking him. Nigerian government fearing that President Trump might warn President Buhari the same way he warned President Paul Biya of Cameroon, about his human right abuses at the separatist region of Southern Cameroon, took seriously the release of Sowore. President Buhari proscribed IPOB as a terror group, whereas the same IPOB was invited by the European Union and an organ of United Nations to make their case. Nigerian government does not want an embarrassment from Trump. The comment President Buahri made to the new US Ambassador which was highlighted above, can attest to the fact that he is concerned about the IPOB issue.
The Yoruba Factor.
The continued detention of Sowore was bad image/press for President Buhari and all that he represents at the South Western Nigeria. This was the region that helped President Buhari get to Aso Rock. So sure that those cabal at Aso Rock would have advised President Buhari to release Sowore, otherwise it would be like biting the fingers that fed you. More so, Sowore helped to campaign for President Buhari during the 2015 Presidential election. President Buhari cannot match the Yoruba press and other human right activists from the region. They withstood him as a military head of state, plus other military leaders like General Babangida and Abacha. Punch newspaper said they will prefix President Buhari with his former military title as General Buhari in view of his abuse of rule of law as a civilian president. The journey to 2023 has started so cabals would want to mend fences with South West.
I just want us to reason together.