Human rights activist and presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections on the platform of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore and other protesters were, on December 31, arrested by the police in Abuja as they staged a procession to herald in the New Year.
According to one of the protesters, Sowore, who is also the publisher of Sahara Reporters and a staunch critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, was arrested by police officers who stormed the Gudu Junction area in the FCT.
The witness said the police fired teargas canisters and shot into the air to disperse the crossover procession, and arrested Sowore along with other activists from the location.
The protesters were later taken to Abattoir Police Station of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit in Abuja where they were detained.
“We were at the Gudu Junction on a procession to usher in the New Year as well as tell Buhari that he should sit up and do well in 2021,” the protester who claimed he managed to escape said.
“We were on a peaceful procession but the police came and fired teargas and live bullets into the air to disperse us.
“Sowore, Sanyaolu Juwon, Michael and two others were arrested and taken to the Abattoir Police Station where they are being detained.
“While trying to arrest Sowore, the police injured him in the leg and even though he was bleeding profusely, they still took him away and detained him without caring to give him first aid.
“Sowore was particularly singled out for torture by the police who kept saying he wants to overthrow Buhari. They beat him up, gave him a bloodied nose, before whisking him away.”
In the evening of Thursday, December 31, Sowore had taken to his Twitter handle where he wrote:
“How about a crossover protest/uprising tonight? Anyone willing to participate?
“Pick up a candle and a placard showing your grievances against the regime; let’s upload our short videos and photos across our social media platforms. Let’s welcome the regime to a resolute 2021!
”#CrossoverWithProtest against tyrant @mbuhari’s regime, candlelight for #LekkiMassacre; a placard for #EndBadGovernment; procession to usher in #Revolutionary 2021, a fist for victims of repression-frozen bank accounts, malicious prosecution and detention of #Endsars.”