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FUNTUA: ‘Nobody sent anybody to go and negotiate Sowore’s freedom’, Presidency counters

Sowore's #RevolutionNow surfers another setback as nine Northern groups back out

The presidency on Tuesday warned the Convener of the #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, to refrain from making spurious claims on his arrest and subsequent detention for attempted revolt against the Federal Government last year.

The late industrialist, Isa Funtua had led some newspaper publishers to meet Sowore, who is the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, when he was in the Department of State Service (DSS) custody last year.

Also on the delegation were the Publisher of Vanguard, Sam Amuka-Pemu; and the Publisher of Thisday newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena.

Funtua, who was the life patron of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria and a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, died on Monday.

Just 24 hours after the industrialist’s death, Sowore told a news platform in a chat how the deceased and other newspaper publishers visited him in the DSS custody and asked him to put aside his revolutionary positions for him to be released.

However, in his reaction to the claims of African Action Congress (AAC) presidential candidate in the 2019 election, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, said on his Facebook page that DSS may be forced to make public a tape recording of the newspaper publishers’ visit to Sowore, if he refused to refrain from making spurious claims on the visit.

READ ALSO: We met with Sowore, but not on Buhari’s behalf —Presidential aide

Shehu wrote: “Let’s get the facts straight on the meeting with Sowore in SSS detention. First, it is important to state that the meeting was not instructed by the government. Nobody sent anybody to go and negotiate Sowore’s freedom as he put it.

“The late Malam Isma’ila (Funtua), on his own called me to ask that I broker a meeting with him and two others with the SSS, which they agreed to. It is important that I state that it was the force of Malam Isma’ila’s argument that made the meeting possible.

“Vanguard Newspapers publisher, Sam Amuka and ThisDay Publisher and President, Nigerian Press Organisation, Nduka Obaigbena, all agreed that Sowore was a ‘rascal’, who had used his newspaper ‘to abuse all of us,’ but agreed, nonetheless to go and press for his release.

“The meeting ended well, and contrary to the posturing by Sowore, he said he was happy with a resolution proposed but that his lawyer, whoever that was, needed to come on board. The fence-mending process apparently collapsed after the meeting of the trio with the lawyer in Lagos.

“Knowing the way the secret service works, it should surprise no one if they keep a recording of that meeting. Faced with this posturing and the unfair attacks on the dead, we certainly will be forced to ask for the release of tapes, in case they are available for the public to judge.”

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