Global human rights’ body, Amnesty International, has expressed concerns over the safety and liberty of human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore.
The group condemned the nonchalance of security agents in the attacks by state-sponsored hoodlums on the activist – the latest episode of which took place at the Federal High Court on Thursday.
AI lamented that the attacks happened in the presence of security agents who made no effort to stop it.
In a statement on Thursday, Amnesty International noted that the series of attacks on Sowore had become disturbing, while it called on the Nigerian government to immediately launch an investigation into the issue.
The statement reads, “Amnesty International is concerned for the safety and liberty of Nigerian activist and human rights defender, Omoyele Sowore, following today’s attack by suspected thugs at the premises of the Federal High Court Abuja. The attack happened in the presence of security officials who made no attempt to arrest the attackers.
“This is not the first time that Sowore has faced threats, attacks and intimidation since his release from DSS detention in December 2020.
”On 31 May 2021 Sowore was shot in the right side of the stomach by a female police officer at the Unity Fountain, Abuja during a peaceful protest.
“Today’s attack on Sowore comes amidst escalating threats and attacks on human rights defenders across Nigeria. The threats, harassment, intimidation and attacks on Omoleye Sowore and other human rights defenders and activists in Nigeria must end.
”Amnesty International calls on the Nigerian authorities to investigate the attack and bring those responsible to justice.”
On Thursday, hoodlums pounced on Sowore while he was attending the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
While Sowore attended the court session, the armed thugs in large numbers laid siege around, waiting for him to come out of the place.
Immediately they sighted him, the thugs rushed towards him and started throwing stones at the activist and his entourage.
As he navigated his way out of the court premises, the thugs rained several more stones on his car, damaging the front and rear side glasses.
Some of the hired hoodlums could be heard telling others to chase the vehicle and make sure the activist was dealt with.
Meanwhile, Sowore, in an account titled, “Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: Deadly Attack on my person at the Federal High Court in Abuja,” narrated how the DSS Director of Operations informed the court security personnel to withdraw from the scene whenever the thugs were about to attack him (Sowore).
Narrating the incident, Sowore said, “I was at the Federal High Court in Abuja today to cover, observe and witness the trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu before Justice Binta Nyako.
“Soon as court proceedings ended I left the court room and tried going to my next assignment in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. As soon as I reached the gate of the Federal High Court, I was alerted to the large presence of thugs and hoodlums carrying dangerous weapons. I had been briefed that these persons were mobilised by Nigeria’s secret police known as the DSS. During my last appearance in court for the same purpose, they physically attacked me while the DSS and police pushed me back to them; this was captured on tape.
“My lawyers wrote a petition to the police and the DG of DSS specifically requesting for their prosecution of the ‘thugs’ and their officers involved in these infamous acts but the security agencies either ignored the petitions or played hookie.
“Today, as I drove away from the courtroom, I was attacked with dangerous objects leading to the destruction of my car and injuries to some of the occupants in the car travelling with me. I sustained minor injuries from broken glasses. These assailants were brought by the DSS according to Federal court security. It is not their first time.
“The federal DSS Director of Operations even informed court security to ‘withdraw’ whenever I was to be attacked. Since my partial release in December 2019, the police and DSS have tried to maim or kill me in several documented/reported incidents of abuse and assault including the shooting of a riot gun, physical attacks and recently the use of non-state actors to violently assault me in public.
“Unfortunately, the Nigerian media haven’t reported or investigated these violent deadly attacks.”
SaharaReporters had noted that Thursday’s attack was not the first time the DSS would be mobilising thugs to go after Sowore – the latest incident adds to an already swelling list.
On November 9, about 20 thugs were recruited by the DSS to attack Sowore while he attended the trial of Kanu at the same court.