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#RevolutionNow: Protest march not treason, Falana rebukes FG over Sowore’s arrest

Human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana has blasted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement.

He faulted the government for clamping down on individuals perceived as its critics while insisting that the planned protest march by the movement was not treasonable offence.

The activist lawyer’s claim is coming after Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general election, was arrested by the Department of State Service, DSS, Saturday.

Sowore had called for a nationwide staging of protests against what he described as bad governance.

The protest he tagged “#RevolutionNow”, was planned to take place on Monday, August 5.

After Sowore’s arrest, the Nigerian Police Force in a statement described the planned protests by Sowore and some individuals as ‘treasonable felony and acts of terrorism.’

It vowed to resist any act that could lead to a breach of law and order in the country.

Falana, however, in a statement signed and issued on Sunday countered the claim of the police, saying the Force had capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests.

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The statement reads: “No doubt, the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests. If revolution has become a criminal offence in Nigeria why were the leaders of the APC not charged for claiming to have carried out Nigeria’s democratic revolution which terminated the 16-year rule of the PDP in 2015?

“Why was Dr Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) not threatened with treason when he asked Nigerians to rise up for revolution via the 2019 general election?

“Did all Nigerian senators led by APC members not commit treason or terrorism when they spent one and a half hours on May 14, 2019 to debate Senator Chukwuka Utazi’s timely motion on “Bridging the gap between the haves and have-not to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution?”

He noted that “it is worrisome that the Buhari administration has decided to extend the ambit of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act to cover individuals and organisations that are critical of official policies or perceived marginalisation within the federation.”

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