Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has criticised the Department of State Services (DSS) for shooting at protesters who stormed its Abuja headquarters on Tuesday over the continued detention of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore.
The protesters, led by activist Deji Adeyanju, were dispersed with gunshots and pepper spray as they were rounding off the protest.
In a statement, Soyinka said the shooting shows government insecurity and paranoia, adding that the Federal Government never believed Mr Sowore would meet his bail conditions.
“It is heart-warming to witness the determined efforts of ‘Concerned Nigerians’ in defence of these rights. Predictably, the ham-fisted response of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) continues to defy the rulings of the court,” he said.
“The weaponry of lies having been exploded in their faces, they resort to what else? Violence! Violence, including, as now reported, the firing of live bullets. Why the desperation? The answer is straightforward: the government never imagined that the bail conditions for Sowore would ever be met. Even Sowore’s supporters despaired. The bail test was clearly set to fail!
“It took a while for the projection to be reversed, and it left the DSS floundering. That agency then resorted to childish, cynical lies. It claimed that the ordered release was no longer in their hands, but in Sowore’s end of the transfer. The lie being exploded, what next? Bullets of course!
“Such a development is not only callous and inhuman, it is criminal. It escalates an already untenable defiance by the state. As I remarked from the onset, this is an act of government insecurity and paranoia that merely defeats its real purpose. And now – bullets? This is no longer comical. Perhaps it is necessary to remind this government of precedents in other lands where, even years after the event, those who trampled on established human rights that generate homicidal impunity are called to account for abuse of power and crimes against humanity.”
Soyinka called on civil society organisations to come together in defence of the rule of law and fundamental human rights.
“Enough of this charade, nothing more than a display of crude, naked power. Release Omoyele Sowore and save us further embarrassment in the regard of the world. An apology to the nation by the DSS and the judiciary would also not be out of place. It would go some distance in redeeming the image of an increasingly fascistic agency and reduce the swelling tide of public disillusionment,” he added.