Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The presidency last night explained that the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, was not detained because of his professional calling as a journalist.
Reacting to reports in some foreign media, which portrayed the detention of Sowore as that of a journalist, the presidency alleged that the former presidential candidate was rather incarcerated because he called for an overthrow of a democratically elected government.
Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had never detained any journalist since he came to power in 1999.
According to the statement, no government would tolerate Sowore’s call for revolution with the description: ‘Days of Rage.”
The statement read: “The Presidency wishes to clarify the release on bail, of the Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress in the February 2019 elections, Omoyele Sowore.
“Some international news outlets have mistakenly been describing his release as that of a journalist. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Buhari administration has never, since coming into office in 2015, detained a journalist, seized copies of newspapers or shut down a medium of information.
“Sowore called for a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria. He did so on television, and from a privileged position as the owner of a widely read digital newspaper run from the United States of America. “He founded an organisation, Revolution Now, to launch, in their own words, “Days of Rage”, with the publicised purpose of fomenting mass civil unrest and the elected administration’s overthrow.
“No government will allow anybody to openly call for destabilisation in the country and do nothing.
“The government believes strictly in observing the rule of law but must safeguard public security and will not allow trouble makers to incite the public and cause a breakdown of law and order.”