Sowore arrives US to family, friends’ warm welcome, gets honoured by American city

RevolutionNow convener Omoyele Sowore, on Saturday, arrived in the United States of America after five years to reunite with his family.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that the activists would be traveling to the US Friday night (tonight) to reunite with his family.

This comes after a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the release of his passport following the decision of the Nigerian government to withdraw its treasonable felony case against the #RevolutionNow convener, four years after it was seized and he was barred from leaving Nigeria.

The human rights activist and two-time presidential candidate was warmly welcomed by friends and family on Saturday.

Sowore, who departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos late Friday night on a United Airlines flight to DC Washington Dulles International Airport, was accompanied by his supporters to the airport.

After some tense confrontations with some Air Force and immigration officers upon his arrival at the Lagos airport over their refusal to allow his supporters and media crew to film his departure, Sowore left and arrived in Washington, D.C., according to his live stream upon arrival.

After U.S. immigration protocols, Sowore took a second leg of his trip to Newark International Airport, where his family and friends met him upon arrival at about 10 AM U.S. Eastern Time.

His friends, led by a member of the TakeItBack Movement, Kayode Ojo, a New York-based tax consultant, later met Sowore’s obviously excited family – his wife, Opeyemi, and his two kids.

Pius Omoregha, Adebayo Niyi, Seun Akinfolarin, also present at the airport were Friday Valentine Offo, Odinma Anaedo social Club USA, Engineer Victor and many others.

The activist said in a press invitation sent to SaharaReporters on Friday that his trip would be for a short while since he was “bound to return to Nigeria not only to continue my struggle for the total liberation of our people but also to face the myriad of bogus criminal and civil cases thrown at me since my detention began.”

Sowore drove home and later attended a reception organized by the City of Haworth. The packed event, organized by the Mayor, Heather Wasser, had in attendance US Congressman Josh Gottheimer, whom Sowore acknowledged as facilitating his return to the U.S.

Sowore’s in-laws, Dr. Soji and Tolu Oluwole, also attended.

Other attendees included members of the Diaspora community led by a former President of the University of Lagos students union and now a foremost chemical engineer in the US, Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi, Bukola Oreofe, Deacon Dele Alade, Ademola Bello, American writer and journalist Lisa Vives, and Nigerian cuisine chef and owner of Brooklyn-based Buka restaurant, Lookman Afolayan.

The event, in which Sowore gave a heartfelt speech, also featured his wife, Opeyemi, appreciating the women who led the campaign for the activist’s release in Haworth, New Jersey.

The healthcare marketing consultant said the “friendship and unbreakable bonds” she forged with other women in Haworth helped her cope with the lonely days of wondering if her husband was safe.

“I’m so overwhelmed by the love that surrounds me and my family,” she said.

According to a video of the event posted by northjersey.com, Sowore said in his speech, “I can’t explain how I feel to be here with you today.

“Before I was arrested, nobody knew much about me in this city. I would just occasionally get on the street and run because I do long-distance running. I participated in the city’s runs once in a while. But something is very similar to where I come from; my hometown is as small as what you have here.

“And I remember growing up and saying that I would change the world through my hometown of 3,000 people when it was invaded by the police in 1980. Fast-forward to years later, and I found myself in this small town. Just the way my hometown shook the Nigerian government through me, you shook our government and the world through me again. I became one of the most popular faces throughout my five-year stay in Nigeria. Everybody knew how to spell this place.”

At the reception, Sowore’s daughter read a poem describing her father as “a man with a big heart.”

One of the leading voices was a council member, Alanna Zahn Davis, who spoke passionately about the strong bond Sowore’s incarceration brought to bear on the Haworth community in New Jersey.

To end the event, The Mayor of Haworth, Heather Wasser delivered a proclamation to honour Sowore and his family for their resilience and struggle for the emancipation of their homeland Nigeria.

SaharaReporters on February 15 reported that the President Bola Tinubu-led government had discontinued the treasonable felony case instituted against Sowore.

The development was made known in a document issued by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi.

The document dated February 15, 2024, was addressed to the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja Division.

In the document, the government disclosed its intention to also discontinue the case against Sowore’s co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, aka Mandate.

Sowore was arrested by the Department of State Services on August 3, 2019, in Lagos, Nigeria.

He was subsequently detained and charged with treason for calling for nationwide protests as part of the #RevolutionNow movement he started.

Following the notice of withdrawal of the case, which was issued by the government through the Attorney General of the Federation, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the release of his passport and other items seized from him.