Sowore returns to Nigeria from the U.S. as promised

Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, has returned to Nigeria about one and a half months after he went to the United States to unite with his family.

Sowore, the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 and 2023 presidential elections, 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.

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.

The #RevolutionNow convener subsequently travelled to the US but promised to return to Nigeria, saying 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 returned to Nigeria on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 and was welcomed by a throng of supporters, activists and party members at Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos.

“I traveled to Abuja to face fresh police charges of cybercrime,” he said.

“The case was instituted by the Nigeria Police Force of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) accusing me of cyberbullying a Nigerian Senator Ned Nwoko.”

Addressing his supporters who welcomed him, Sowore said, “When I left about a month and a half ago, I made it very clear that I would be back but before I left about a month and a half ago, in 2019 when we were starting out the RevolutionNow movement, we told them that it may take time but we would defeat them even in their own courtroom.

“So by about a month and a half ago, we defeated four judges. My case went through four judges in over five years.

“We said it that we would be back and I’m back today and I’m glad to be back with all of you. I have another trial in Abuja.”

The activist said all the corrupt people in Nigeria would be put on “trial one by one”.

Regarding the travails of the embattled former Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello, who has been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Sowore said, “I told Yahaya Bello when he was arresting our guys for pasting ‘Buhari Must Go’ posters that one day he too would be on the run.

“Has it not come to pass? His deputy at that time, Onoja, we told him that one day he would be on the run too. The Buhari people, they are all on the run now,” he said.

He said the next thing on the agenda “is to give them a sucker punch”, adding that “our intention is to clean this country”.

Speaking about May Day, which is set aside annually to celebrate workers, Sowore lamented the plight of workers in Nigeria. He noted that they are paid peanuts while political office holders steal billions of naira.

“Today is also May Day but nobody is celebrating workers in Nigeria,” he said. “Like I said the problem of Nigeria is not the population of Nigeria, it is the population of thieves in Nigeria. We will get rid of all of them so I’m back.”

He encouraged his supporters and told them that “our colleagues in the US, Australia and Europe send their greetings to you and they are with you in this battle”.

Addressing a question from a journalist about how Nigerians can retrace their steps after voting for bad leaders over the years, Sowore said, “We have told Nigerians that this is not the time for agonizing, this is the time for organizing. If you want to end the problem, if you want to end starvation, hunger, you have an option and we are the option.

“We provided this option as far back as 2019. They said why are you talking about revolution, now everybody is talking about revolution? We presented ourselves in 2023, we presented minimum wage of N100,000 in 2019, they said it is going to cause inflation.

“In 2023, we increased it to N250,000. By the time I was getting here today, I said that no Nigerian should receive less than N500,000 minimum. Even that one is not enough. We should be talking about N1.5 million as a minimum wage but let us start with N500,00 so that they will not say that everybody cannot pay.

“But how can you say that you cannot pay minimum wage when one governor can withdraw … the N80 billion they are accusing Yahaya Bello of (stealing) is the one he withdrew in cash. That is not part of the contracts. They are still finding the money that Emefiele stole.”

He also lamented the state of Nigerian airports in comparison with other international airports.

He insisted that his party, AAC is the solution to Nigeria’s problem, saying “we have proven time and time again that we have capacity, integrity, knowledge and we are not corrupt”.

“If we were corrupt, we would not be having this conversation with you, we would be with them.”

The activist used the opportunity to remind the DSS that it still owed him some money taken from him when he was arrested.