The Department of State Services (DSS) in Nigeria has arrested Olawale Bakare, convener of the pressure group Coalition for Revolution – popularly known by its hashtag, RevolutionNow – in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.
The DSS is the Nigerian federal agency with responsibility for gathering domestic intelligence.
Bakare was arrested on Wednesday 5 August when he converged with members of RevolutionNow at Olaiya Junction in Osogbo.
The group of young Nigerians is calling for a change in the way Nigeria is governed. Its activists were protesting in Osogbo against what they describe as a host of civil ills, including bad governance, lack of infrastructure and extrajudicial law enforcement.
The Nation newspaper reported that the protesters were armed only with placards bearing inscriptions against bad governance, lack of infrastructure and illegal arrests.
RevolutionNow claims that civil actions were held simultaneously in all 35 other states of Nigeria.
On 5 August 2019 Bakare was arrested in Osogbo together with the journalist Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow and founder of the news platform Sahara Reporters. The two men were arraigned jointly in court and charged with treason, money laundering and cyberstalking President Muhammadu Buhari.
In May this year, a Lagos high court fined the federal government N1 million for disrupting the group’s 2019 protest.
Sahara Reporters and the popular Nigerian news website Legit.ng reported that photographs and clips circulating on social media proved that Nigerian security agents had used maximum force on peaceful protesters in Lagos, the commercial hub, and Abuja, the federal capital, on Wednesday.
“We are currently witnessing a joint madness by the military, police and other security agencies as over 60 of our comrades have been arrested over peaceful #RevolutionNow protest,” Deji Adeyanju, one of the leaders of the group, tweeted. “The Abacha days are here once again.”
Another member of the group tweeted: “Police, army and air force deployed in Abuja because of a protest but they can’t do this for Southern Kaduna herdsmen massacre.
“They’ve arrested and assaulted protesters. This government has lost it completely. History will never forget and forgive Buhari.”
Warpath on PDP
In another development, the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has accused the Edo leadership of the governing All Progressives Congress of planning violence and harassing his supporters ahead of a governorship election on 19 September.
“As I speak to you now, you can’t imagine that police from Abuja are already in the state and have been paid to arrest our supporters,” Obaseki said.
“They have been paid by a billionaire to arrest Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] supporters in the state. This billionaire sponsored the attacks on me and other PDP governors at the palace.
“This is to tell you the level of corruption and impunity we face.”