Time to Speak Up for the Judiciary

Sowore struggling to get off the grips of security agents as they forcefully rearrested him

A disturbing dimension was on Friday added to President Muhammadu Buhari’s onslaught and desecration of the judiciary, when some operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja, where Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu was presiding over the case of the convener of #RevolutionNow and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore Sowore, who was released on Thursday evening after 125 days in DSS custody.

Sowore was rearrested in a most horrific manner as the secret police agents swooped on the court, held the judiciary to ransom, disrupted proceedings, scared away the judge, chased out lawyers and journalists, attacked and rearrested the persons standing trial within the precincts of the court in a manner obtainable only in a military regime.

Before now, the worst Nigerians had seen since the country’s Independence in 1960, were suspects being rearrested outside the premises of the courts. But nobody ever thought this would happen especially since the military did not take their dictatorship to this level.

The action does not only show that the nation is finally sliding into a frightening dictatorship but points to an emerging lawlessness that can only find space in a military regime. What started with the invasion of judges’ apartments in Abuja and the forcible removal of a sitting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, is gathering momentum with nobody knowing the apogee.

For those who had refused to speak out since the incumbent government of Muhammadu Buhari started manifesting signs of totalitarianism, it is time to do so, because the signs are ominous as the nation is no longer governed by democratic principles of the rule of law and dictates of the constitution but a forceful suspension of the country’s constitutional order.