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The Take it Back Movement is calling the attention of all well-meaning Nigerians at home and in diaspora, the judiciary, and all international observers to the laughable but appalling attempt by the Department of State Security Services to initiate a smear campaign on Omoyele Sowore, after all their “investigations” have yielded no reason to hold him.

It was already abundantly clear that Sowore had done no wrong to all that were paying attention, when, after the brutish manner of arrest-first-invent-a-charge-later that has become synonymous with the Nigerian DSSS – and after illegally holding him for 5 days without charge – the DSSS could find no wrongdoing with which to charge Sowore to court. Instead, they resorted to pleading with a judge for a 90-day remand order to fabricate a reason for his unlawful detention.

Having been granted a 45-day remand order in a judgement that is beyond belief, it became clear to the DSSS after a week of incessant questioning of Sowore that they had made a fatal mistake. Not only have they found no crime or illegality in his actions, they have realized that, by their hasty, thoughtless actions, they have successfully crowned Sowore the leader of the true opposition to impunity, anarchy, corruption and retrogression that this government clearly stands for.

Now, to save face, the paid muscle that is our Security Service is rallying in desperate search of a crime to pin on arguably the most transparent Presidential Candidate and Leader of our time. It therefore behoves us, concerned Nigerians of the Take it Back movement, to point out the fabrications of the DSS, which they began to spread with the press release of [what date from who], their publicity secretary, in their hope for anything resembling a case.

They have attempted to link Sowore’s #RevolutionNow protest to the now proscribed IPOB group, claiming that Sowore’s meeting with the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, on what date and where, was to plan to topple the government. They clearly forgot that Sowore met with Kanu in his capacity as a journalist, a concerned Nigerian, and as an ex-presidential candidate of the federal republic who promised, during his presidential campaign, to go the extra mile to get those disillusioned with Nigeria to believe in the Nigeria project again. As one of the few candidates who covered the length and breadth of this country during his campaign, he witnessed, first-hand, the ravages of mal-governance of the current ruling class on ALL Nigerians – Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa alike. Only a government whose response to cries of injustice is to send armed soldiers to trample on unarmed men, women and children, would perceive the meeting of free men as an affront and a sign of treason.

This meeting was also held in public, and livestreamed for all Nigerians to view in real time! And so we ask the DSSS: who plans to topple a government in public? Is this really the kind of security service that tax-payer’s money is wasted to provide to Nigerians? No wonder Boko-Haram and Herdsmen are running rough-shod over this government and all they do is give excuses.

They have also failed in their bid to misconstrue Sowore’s defence of the human rights of the Shiite leader, El-Zakzaky. We call on Nigerians to remember that Sowore was the first journalist to report on the human rights abuses of the Shiites and their leader by the Army under the Buhari government, and as a presidential candidate, spoke multiply about the need to respect the law and human rights of individuals, something that Buhari and the DSSS are obviously unfamiliar with. Our call has always been for mediation and dialogue, not for injustice and cruelty.

Now, their ploy is to attempt to link Sowore’s large support base in diaspora and their donations to his campaign as support for toppling the government. Specifically, they mention Dubai because it is clear that all donations from Western countries have been tracked with clarity. This is laughable at best, and at worst, and shows how insensitive this current government is to the yearnings of Nigerians at home and in diaspora who just want their country fixed, and desire a government that does not just gives excuses for their incessant failures.

Perhaps more than any other presidential candidate in Nigeria’s history, Omoyele Sowore was transparent about his campaign fundraising efforts. Recognizing the value that Nigerians in diaspora add daily to the lives of Nigerians at home, and sensing their willingness to participate in the improvement of their homeland, Sowore offered himself as their mouthpiece, which other candidates also attempted to do and were rebuffed.

Sowore, the overwhelming choice of those in diaspora, held fundraising drives where Nigerians worldwide contributed in national and foreign currencies to his campaign. On all these drives, Sowore announced the donors. This transparency spurred on many donors to contribute even more. This has never happened in Nigeria’s history. Less than eight weeks after the elections, Sowore cemented his place in the hearts of Nigerians with the unprecedented action of publishing his campaign Statement of Accounts, accounting for every penny received.

We are now aware that the DSS is trying to turn this outpouring of generosity by the Nigerian people into something more sinister; insinuating that these funds, so publicly donated, received and spent, were to support a secret mission. And so we challenge the DSSS – in this era of BVN? Is this really the kind of thinking that they intend to use to provide security from contemporary security challenges like cybercrime?

It is now clear to everyone, that, in their continued bid to quash the voice of the oppressed and trample on the rights of Nigerians, the Department of State Services (DSS) will continue to search desperately for accusations to lay at the feet of former presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, and are not above spurious allegations in their quest to quieten the agitation for good governance that he has raised in the hearts and minds of reasonable Nigerians.

The TiB Movement would therefore like to be clear: Sowore is not Nigeria’s enemy. His only passion is a unified Nigeria that works for all, not just the oppressive, corrupt elite. We will therefore continue to defend Sowore’s innocence even as the Federal Government continue to draw on groundless, tenuous strands with which to silence him. There is a growing desire for freedom and progress that cannot be quelled, and the rest of the world is watching closely.

Director General, 
Take it Back Movement