The Department of State Services (DSS) says it suspected that Omoyele Sowore, a candidate in Nigeria's last presidential election wanted to work with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to topple the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The federal government had proscribed the two groups, describing them as terrorist organizations.
Sowore is known in Nigeria and around the world as a human rights activist and non-violent agitator for democratic ideals.
He was part of the struggle against military jackboot in Nigeria and has continued to speak against bad governance and oppression in the country.
But the President Buhari regime claimed that his opponent, Sowore, in the February 23 presidential election was working with two terrorist groups to violently topple his government through the #RevolutionNow protest.
The DSS said this in an affidavit attached to its counter-argument against the application of Sowore challenging his detention.
An Abuja federal high court had granted the DSS 45 days to keep Sowore in its custody pending investigation into the allegation of terrorism against him.
Sowore had called for a non-violent nationwide protest scheduled for August 5 but was arrested in his apartment in Lagos on August 3 just before the #RevolutionNow protests kicked off.
The affidavit read: “The respondent./applicant (Sowore) planned to violently change the government through the hashtag RevolutionNow. Therespondent/appellant hid under the cover of call for mass protest with the hashtag RevolutionNow to mislead unsuspecting and innocent members of the public into joining him to topple the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“In his plot to topple the government, the respondent/applicant held series of meetings with members at a prescribed terrorist organisation, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) with a view to mobilizing strong forces to realize his agenda at changing the government. The respondent formed an alliance with a fugitive, Nnamdi Kanu, a self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed terrorist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to launch a series of attacks on Nigeria with a view to violently removing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“After a series of closed-door meetings between the duo in the United States of America, they addressed a press conference wherein they both stated their resolve to form an alliance against the Nigerian government. The duo stated that they have a well-planned strategy to realize their objective, which is toppling the government."
The court document added, “The applicant/respondent is investigating the activities of the respondent /applicant as it relates to a terrorist organisation, IPOB. The facts show a conjecture between the respondent/applicant and IPOB activities.
“There is a need for the applicant/respondent to investigate such reasonable suspicion of the relationship between the respondent/applicant and IPOB. The respondent held series of meetings with some foreign collaborators outside Nigeria including Dubai where millions of dollars were given to him to sponsor a widespread attack on Nigeria with a view to violently removing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and freeing Ibrahim El-Zakzaky (Sheikh)."
Similarly, the affidavit claimed: “In furtherance to the plans to violently free El-Zakzaky from lawful custody. the respondent held several meetings with a proscribed terrorist organisation. Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) where they strategized on how to carry out attacks to force the government to free Elzakzaky.
“The respondent stated in one of his videos that Shiite members, who are members of the proscribed terrorists group, IMN were going to join forces with him in bringing down the government. The statement and the meetings of the respondent/applicant raise the issue of grave suspicion of supporting a proscribed terrorists’ organisation, IMN.
“The suspicions require diligent investigation by the applicant/respondent. The planned action constitutes a threat of violence to intimidate or cause panic in members of the public as a means of affecting political conduct. The investigation is still ongoing. Upon the completion of the investigation, the case file will be forwarded to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for advice and possible prosecution.”