By Williams Anuku, Abuja
A civil society organisation has accused Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters of trying to resurrect the #EndSARS Protest for personal reasons.
The group, under the auspices of Genuine #EndSARS Protesters, drew criticisms from the recent events that unfolded on Sunday, November 1, 2020, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where a few persons were seen protesting under the auspices of the #EndSARS protest, as an indication of a selfish agenda to revive the now-rested nationwide demonstrations.
Recall that the said protesters – with Sowore assuming a prominent place – had besieged the precincts of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, as well as the Force Headquarters – where they left the “#EndSARS” inscription boldly on the roads.
This development has, however, triggered an angry reaction from the original promoters of #EndSARS protests, who have called on the youths in the country, to disregard the revivalist agenda.
The Genuine #EndSARS protesters, in a statement, signed, Tuesday, by Dr Orji Nwakocha (South East); Dr Aremu Babatunde (South West); Comrade Frank Jaja (South-South); Alhaji Ibrahim Dan Iya (North West); Sheik Mohammed Adamu (North East); Mr Dakwohi Samson (FCT); and Comrade Peter Yohana (North Central), accused Sowore of a deliberate attempt to blackmail President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the group, the need for citizens to give government’s at all levels the chance to address the concerns that necessitated the EndSARS demonstrations had become compelling, more so that commitments had already been made.
This was as it submitted that the antecedents of Sowore, who had led a failed “revolution” attempt, could not inspire meaningful followership, hence the need to disown him.
“The attention of the Genuine #EndSARS protesters has been drawn to the Sunday, November 1, 2020 attempt in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to relaunch the now-rested nationwide demonstrations demanding an end to the dreaded police squad, and general reform of the Nigeria Police.
“Leading this unpopular move is one Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of the controversial online news platform, SaharaReporters.
“Ordinarily, the Genuine #EndSARS protesters would not have dignified this latest development, but for the character, disposition and antecedent of the person at the centre of this, whose infamy remains unparalleled in contemporary Nigerian politics”, the group said in the statement.
The organisation further chronicled the recent events that characterised the person of Sowore, culminating in his ongoing trial before a competent court of jurisdiction.
The statement reads: “Nigerians will recall that Sowore had, sometime in 2019, attempted to lead a failed ‘revolution’ against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, leading to his arrest and ongoing trial on a 7-count criminal charge bordering on treason, money laundering and cyber-stalking, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“It may be further recalled that owing to the entrenchment of democratic tenets under the current administration, which adheres strictly to the principle of rule of law, institutional independence/non-interference, the court graciously granted Sowore bail, with conditions attached therein.
“One of such conditions was a restriction on addressing public gatherings until the criminal trial was concluded.
“In his characteristic disobedience to law and properly constituted authorities, Sowore has continued to observe that aspect of his bail conditions in the breach.
“We have taken the pain of articulating these points, to show to the world who this man truly is, as a prelude to the obvious attempt to hijack a worthy cause initiated by patriotic youths with genuine agitations.
“Having said this, we wish to unequivocally dissociate ourselves from the attempt by Sowore and his few co-travellers, to relaunch the #EndSARS protests, which have since been rested by the original promoters, to allow action from governments at the various levels.
“We make bold to say that, considering the aftermath of the nationwide protests – as seen in the hijack by hoodlums and attendant deaths, destruction of public and private property – no responsible citizen would want to re-ignite the event”.
It concluded thus: ‘Clearly, this move – to all intent and purposes – is manifestly tendentious, overtly self-serving and anything but altruistic.
“It is designed to further his selfish agenda of blackmailing the federal government, and we completely dissociate ourselves from this move by a man seen in many instances as a meddlesome interloper, who seeks to hijack noble causes, for premeditated ends.
“We hereby call on millions of our articulate, ever-conscious and responsible youths across the 36 states of the federation, and the FCT, to resist this latest antics by Sowore, as it will not only threaten the relative peace being enjoyed today, but disturb the socio-economic fabric of a nation negotiating recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic”.