The presidency has accused former presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore of attempting to twist the facts surrounding the visit of Isa Funtua and other persons to him while in custody.
Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity in a statement on Tuesday evening, threatened that the Department of State Services (DSS) may be petitioned to make the tape of the visit public except Sowore desists from making untrue claims.
Naija News recalls Isa Funtua, who died on Monday and other newspaper publishers had visited Sowore in 2019 while he was in prison custody where he was detained by the DSS for over four months.
Others on the team that visited Sowore were the Publisher of Vanguard, Sam Amuka-Pemu; and the Publisher of Thisday newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena.
After Funtua’s death, Sowore alleged that Funtua and others who visited him in prison had told him to drop his ‘revolution’ protests and stop fighting the government as a condition for his release.
However, the Presidential media aide in a series of posts on Twitter on Tuesday has refuted claims that any such offer or demand was made to Sowore while in prison.
He 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.”