Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Omoyele Sowore. Image from Naija News.

Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters and 2019 Nigerian presidential candidate on the platform of the African Action Congress (AAC), has been arrested by officers of Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) for organising the #RevolutionNow protests, a series of peaceful demonstrations for a better country which are set to begin today, 5 August, in 21 Nigerian cities, and which the police has labelled an act of treason and terrorism developed to “force a regime change in the country.” The arrest happened on Saturday, 3 August. Premium Times reports that “Sowore posted a distress tweet at exactly 1:25 am with an eyewitness confirming that his phone was forcefully taken from him,” the tweet reading ”DSS invades Sowore’s.”

Sowore’s lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, is reported to have said the following on Facebook:

This is a panic response from a decayed regime that is so sacred of its own shadow. Buhari’s despotism is now in full force. Nigerians are now preoccupied with the shenanigans of a morally bankrupt, economically backward and politically inept administration. The SSS which is supposed to be actively involved in curtailing insecurity across Nigeria has been turned into a tool of intimidation for a corrupt, clueless and incompetent government.

Let it be known that this irresponsible and highly reckless action will not deter conscientious and enlightened Nigerians from fighting for a better country. The #RevolutionNow Movement has come to stay and no dictator can stop it.

SSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya confirmed that Sowore was arrested “for threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social harmony in the country,” stating that the secret police is “’aware’ that Mr Sowore had been in touch with foreign actors to destabilise Nigeria.”

The development has been condemned by Wole Soyinka in a statement. “Beyond the word ‘revolution,’ another much mis-used and misunderstood word, nothing that Sowore has uttered, written, or advocated suggests that he is embarking on, or urging the public to engage in a forceful overthrow of government,” Soyinka said. “We underwent identical cynical contrivances under the late, unlamented Sani Abacha, when he sent storm-troopers to disrupt a planning session for a similar across-nation march at Tai Solarin School, Ikenne.”

In response, the Federal Government accused Soyinka of “blackmail.” “You mentioned the name of Professor Wole Soyinka. Some of these critics of government are people whom we have great respect and admiration for,” stated President Buhari’s spokesperson Garba Shehu. “This is an unpardonable blackmail that cannot stop Police and other law enforcement agencies from doing their work.”

Activists have stated that they would go on with the protest.

At the time of writing, security agents have surrounded the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, in anticipation of protesters.

Tags: , , , ,

Otosirieze is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Bakwa Magazine Presents: Literary Translation Workshop in Collaboration with University of Bristol | How to Apply

Bakwa translation workshop

PRESS RELEASE: Bakwa Magazine, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, is pleased to announce that applications are open for […]

E.C. Osondu Wins the BOA Short Fiction Prize, Gets Publication Deal for His Manuscript, Alien Stories

EC Osondu

The Nigerian writer E.C. Osondu has won the $1,000 BOA Short Fiction Prize for the manuscript of his short story […]

The 2019 Writivism Prizes Awarded to Nigeria’s Frances Ogamba & South Africa’s Resoketswe Manenzhe

writivism 2019 winners - graph

The winners of the 2019 Writivism Prizes have been announced: the Koffi Addo Creative Nonfiction Prize went to Nigeria’s Frances […]

Teju Cole Offers Thoughts on Controversy Over NYT’s Coverage of Trump & Racism, Shares New Spotify Playlist

teju cole sydney morning herald

Days ago on Facebook, Teju Cole made a post about the debate over how The New York Times covers and […]

Dinaw Mengestu’s Novel Picked by Barrack Obama for His Summer 2019 Reading List

dinaw mengestu - how to read the air - graph - joydelire.worpress.com

Former US president Barrack Obama has revealed his summer 2019 reading list, and among his selections is the Ethiopian writer […]

Poetry Chapbook Review | Ama Asantewa Diaka’s You Too Will Know Me | Nana Prempeh

Ama asantewa diaka - you too will know me - graph

Publisher: Akashic Books. As part of African Poetry Book Fund (APBF)’s New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Sita), edited […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.