Nigeria’s vocal pro-democracy activist, Omoyele Sowore, has been in the detention of the Nigerian government since his abduction by operatives of the Department of State Services on the midnight of August 3, 2019.
Sowore had organized a peaceful protest tagged #RevolutionNow, which was scheduled for August 5, 2019.
The #RevolutionNow protest was targeted at demanding better governance and improvement in the welfare of Nigerians as millions of people grapple with multidimensional poverty, often living on less than $2 a day.
His call for peaceful protests across the nation was met with stiff opposition by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime.
Two days to the protest, Sowore was abducted, Gestapo-style in his apartment by heavily armed operatives of the DSS.
Since then, he has been in detention, charged to court, granted bail but was not released.
Here is a timeline of Sowore’s treatment by the Nigerian government.
July 29: Sowore announced a nationwide #RevolutionNow protest scheduled for August 5.
August 3: Sowore was illegally arrested and detained by heavily armed DSS operatives in the wee hours of August 3.
August 3: Local and international human rights groups condemned the arrest, detention of Sowore, demanded his immediate release.
August 4: The DSS confirmed arresting Sowore, gave reasons.
August 5: #RevolutionNow started peacefully in Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, and Cross River states but protests were violently disrupted and about 100 protesters arrested across the country. Journalists too were not spared by security agents who manhandled them.
August 6: Nigerian government sought a court order to detain Sowore for 90 days for it to conclude its investigation.
August 8: Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the federal high court sitting in Abuja issued a court order to detain Sowore for 45 days.
August 7: Four #RevolutionNow protesters charged with breach of public peace in Ogun State.
August 9: Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress, accused Sowore of treason.
August 9: Pressure mounted on the Nigerian government to release Sowore.
August 10: Sowore appealed court order detaining him in DSS detention for 45 days.
August 14: Nigerians in Abuja, protested the detention of Sowore. They were initially barred from holding the protest by security agents.
August 19: Femi Falana, Sowore’s lawyer, vowed that Nigerians would defeat another dictator in President Muhammadu Buhari.
August 19: Security agencies sealed off the venue of a symposium organized by civil societies and non-governmental organizations to discuss the detention of Sowore and repression of human rights by the Buhari regime.
August 28: Justice Nkeonye Maya refused to hear the bail application filed by Sowore.
August 29: Abubakar Marshal, a member of the legal team representing Sowore challenged Justice Maya in an open court on why she refused to send Sowore’s case file back to the chief judge since she recused herself from the case.
September 16: Sowore sought bail from detention again.
September 18: Members of the Coalition for Revolution held a rally in Lagos to demand the release of Sowore and other protesters arrested on August 5.
September 20: The Nigerian government filed a fresh seven-count charge of insulting President Buhari, money laundering, and treasonable felony against Sowore.
September 23: Nigerian government lined up witnesses to testify against Sowore.
September 24: Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered the immediate release of Sowore from detention. Sowore was asked to drop his passport as a condition for bail.
September 24: Sowore fulfilled the bail condition.
September 25: The DSS refused to let Sowore go.
September 25: Sowore’s wife led a protest at UN General Assembly.
September 26: Court threatened imprisonment of DSS Director General over non-compliance with the court order to release Sowore.
September 27: The DSS refused to receive documented proof that it collected Sowore’s passport. The security agency chased Sowore’s lawyer and the court clerk away from its office.
September 27: The Nigerian government threatened to report and punish Justice Taiwo for granting Sowore’s bail.
September 27: Fifty civil society organizations approach UN, AU over Sowore’s continued detention.
September 29: The Nigerian Bar Association condemned the DSS disobedience of the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo to release Sowore on bail.
September 30: Sowore arraigned in court again but this time on the fresh seven-count charges.
September 30: Sowore made first public appearance after 60 days after his detention.
September 30: DSS operatives manhandled Sowore for speaking with journalists.
October 1: “My trial will end in favour of Nigerians,” Says Sowore.
October 4: Court grants Sowore N100-million bail.
October 4: Falana kicked against stringent bail conditions.
October 5: US-based Columbia University condemned the continued detention of its alumnus, Sowore.
October 7: TakeItBack Movement launched GoFundMe account for Sowore
October 15: Court fixed October 21 for hearing on Sowore’s bail variation application.
October 21: Court reduced Sowore’s bail to N50 million.
October 28: Americans, Africans in New Jersey, US, held a rally demanding release and the return of Sowore.
October 30: US congress member, Karen Bass, condemned the continued detention of Sowore, called on UN to intervene.