Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has said that Friday’s invasion of a courtroom at the Federal High Court, Abuja by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), was a rape on the sanctity of the court.
Armed operatives of the DSS had invaded the court during sitting had had forcefully arrested the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare.
The DSS had released Sowore and Bakare on Thursday on the orders of the court that granted them bail in a treason trial brought against them by the federal government.
The two activists had been in the DSS custody since August, against a lawful order of the court that granted them bail. The DSS, however, released the two activists on Thursday following a 24-hour ultimatum issued against it by the trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.
However, the security operatives stormed the court on Friday when the activists appeared in court for the adjourned hearing of their case when the security operatives swooped on them and forcefully took them back into detention. Videos of the ugly scene have since gone viral.
Atiku, in his reaction, said the action of the DSS is unacceptable, describing the invasion as a desecration of the court and the entire judiciary.
In a statement on Friday, which he personally signed, Atiku said never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a judge been treated in such a disdainful and brazen attack on not just her person and office, but on the entire judiciary.
The statement said, “Today, I am in extreme anguish of spirit having watched the unfortunate drama that played itself out at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in which agents of the state not only caused a commotion in court in order to frustrate a judgment of a court of competent authority.
“This is unacceptable. It is a rape on the sanctity of the court. Nigeria is not a dictatorship. We are a democracy, no matter how inconvenient this fact is to the powers that have forced themselves on us”.
Atiku called for investigation into the invasion with a view to identifying those responsible for the maltreatment meted out to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu and the desecration of her court, and indeed the Nigerian judiciary.
“They must be sanctioned to the highest extent permissible by our laws”, Atiku said and called on law enforcement agencies in country to immediately respect not just the court order made by Justice Ojukwu, but the order of any court in Nigeria, on other detainees like Sambo Dasuki, Ibrahim Zakzaky, among others.
“We cannot have a situation where our government is quick to obey foreign court orders and even quicker to disobey domestic court orders. This is symptomatic of a mindset that is servile to foreign powers and brutal to Nigerians.
“Without the rule of law, there can be no rule at all. Power in Nigeria still flows from the people, not from the barrel of a gun. I call on all men and women of goodwill not to keep quiet or sit on the fence at times like this.
“To keep Nigeria a democracy is the paramount duty of all concerned stakeholders. Please speak up against this tyranny and side with the Nigerian people”, he added.