The Presidency has replied notable Nigerians opposing the action taken by the DSS in arresting rights activist and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February 2019 election, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
It mentioned the name of Soyinka in particular as one of the critics, saying that much as the administration had respect for him and others, they appeared to be engaging in double-speaking and blackmailing the government.
The Presidency, reacting through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, noted that the same Soyinka would criticise the government for not taking actions against lawlessness and turned around to attack it when it took actions.
“You mentioned the name of Prof Wole Soyinka. Some of these critics of government are people whom we have great respect and admiration for. When things are going wrong with the law and order in the country, they say the police are not doing their work. They raise their voices, asking that ‘the culprits to be booked and expeditiously punished in the most severe manner.’
“The police under a new leadership is now rising to the occasion, saying ‘we cannot take any more atrocities against the law in our country and they are saying don’t do anything.
“They are calling out President Buhari and comparing him to autocratic leaders. This is an unpardonable blackmail that cannot stop the police and other law enforcement agencies from doing their work,” the Presidency responded.
It added that the administration respected the right of Nigerians to carry out peaceful protests, but not a call to “violence.”
The Presidency added, “A Nigerian is by right empowered to call for a change of government using constitutional means; to protest peacefully against government policies and decisions. But to call for the violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government and President is worse, and is not acceptable under any law in Nigeria. Violence will ever be accepted again as a way to change governments in this country. Those days are gone.
“Nigeria has a well-crafted constitution and elaborate laws governing elections that guide an orderly succession in government. We have a judicial system that actively serves as a watchdog of the people’s rights.
“Yet, we are daily witnesses to obscene display of delight in the killing of our soldiers and policemen, an open contempt for the country’s laws and its people, accompanied by loud cheers from the so-called New Media. Is this the way to grow a country?”