PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has thanked Nigerians, who failed to respond to the call on social media and join up with what he called a phantom ‘revolution,’ which was convened by the founder of SaharaReporters Group and Convener of the #RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore.
His show of gratitude Monday trailed a demand by two groups, the Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) and the United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFP) for the release of the convener of Revolution Now, Mr Omoyele Sowore, from detention.
In a statement Monday, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, stated that the president was humbled by the support, ”not for himself, or the governing party – but for the democratic values of modern-day Nigeria.”
He acknowledged that there were a few hundred persons, who for their own reasons, decided to engage on the protest march against national interest.
The statement read in parts: “Today, millions of Nigerians went about their businesses: work, seeking employment, attending school/college and caring for their families.
”By doing so, the millions defended our country’s hard-won democratic rights – by ignoring calls on social media to join a phantom ‘revolution’.
“There were a few hundred persons today who, for their own reasons, decided to act upon the demands of a group calling itself Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria, which went on social media to ask everyday Nigerians to overthrow the government they only elected some six months ago.
“The President is humbled by the support – not for himself, or the governing party – but for the democratic values of modern-day Nigeria through the wisdom of those millions of citizens who preferred democracy and decided not to undermine an elected government.
“The Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria’s attempt to incite citizens into a revolution against their own democratic rights and interests has failed – as will all attempts to take away from the people their hard-won rights and freedom to choose who leads their country.”
Coalition of lawyers, NGO fault Sowore’s arrest, detention
The Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) and the United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFP) in separate statements Monday in Abuja, described the detention of Sowore, as needless and ill-advised.
Both groups agreed that group had the right to congregate, protest and express their reservations about the Federal Government policies or its leadership direction.
The Convener of COPA, Pelumi Olajengbesi said that COPA viewed the excuse given by the Federal Government over Sowore’s arrest as an insult to public intelligence and sensibility.
According to him, “the arrest of Sowore in the late hours of the night as a pre-emptive strike against an unfounded allegation of treason is a farcical move and one that ridicules the government and the security arm that carried out the arrest.
“In fact, the arrest and continued detention of Sowore is an exhibition of brute force, a clampdown on constitutional liberty and a gradual descent into anarchy.
“It is way too soon to relive all over again the signature moves of military dictatorship; no country should ever have political thoughts and speeches policed by the state.
While COPA insisted that the definition of treason is not dictated to by executive whims but by clearly laid down laws and state conventions,
Shalom Olaseni, Executive Director, UGRFP, said since his group was not holding brief for any political movement or allowing political colorations to taint its positions on national issues, it was necessary for the rule of law to be respected.
He said “we are properly apprised of insinuations that the #RevolutionNow movement is unconstitutional and perhaps, treasonable.
“The #RevolutionNow movement ought to be properly monitored until it becomes clear and unimpeachable that an attempt to create an alternative government or encourage a coup against the government is suspected. These are the elements of treason.
“All rights are only as absolute as they exist within the parameters of the law. It is our hope that this matter will be resolved as amicably as the circumstance permits,” Olaseni said.