Sahara Reporters publisher and convener of “Revolution Now” has been arrested by Nigeria’s secret service, reports say.
Armed DSS operatives reportedly forced their way into Sowore’s residence in the early hours of Saturday to take him into detention.
Sowore was planning to lead a series of anti-government protests across Nigeria.
He had also, on Friday night, vowed to “ginger” University of Lagos (UNILAG) against the authorities after the school cancelled a campus event he was scheduled to address. There are insinuations the UNILAG authorities, with whom Sowore has had a frosty relationship, are behind his arrest.
Sowore and his followers were also recently photographed defacing public property with spray paint while promoting their August 5 #RevolutionNow protest.
DSS operatives are reportedly set to invade Civil Media Lab in Ikeja, Lagos, where protesters are scheduled to gather to march for Sowore’s release, sources say.
While it is not immediately clear why Sowore was arrested, it is clear security officers took him in Gestapo-styled, a source familiar with how the event unfolded reportedly claims.
“At around past 1am, the armed men knocked on the door,” the source who claimed to have witnessed Sowore’s arrest was quoted to have said.
“I noticed immediately that these knocks were strange. And didn’t open. I looked and I saw men armed to the teeth.
“They started forcing their way in like armed robbers. But I knew they were DSS men, knowing fully well the attention RevolutionNow has garnered.
“Sowore wanted to open at first but I immediately told him who they are. He retreated and like magic, he was not in the room when they forced their way in — eight of them. That was when he managed to tweet.
“By this time, I had been beaten and handcuffed. Phones were snatched from me. An order to block all exits came from the leader when Sowore was not found inside.
“He was later arrested at the gym in a gestapo manner and dragged after a bit altercation.
“They removed my handcuffs and I quickly seized that opportunity to drive his car (I drive him) to block their Sienna and Hilux they came in.
“They hit the Lexus Jeep like kidnappers would do to make way for themselves.
“I followed them immediately till we got to CMD road around Ketu when one of them came down from the SIENNA and corked his gun, threatening to shoot me.
“I had to escape at that point.”
Sowore’s supporters are using the #FreeSowore hashtag to demand his immediate and unconditional release.
Pro-government social media influencer Kayode Ogundamisi has warned the authorities that whoever ordered Sowore’s arrest is playing into the protesters’ hands.
Sowore, a vocal critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, contested the 2019 presidential election under the platform of his African Action Congress (AAC).