Court asks DSS , AGF why Sowore is still de­tained

The Punch - - NEWS - Ade Ade­s­o­moju, Abuja

THE Fed­eral High Court in Abuja on Tues­day or­dered the Di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the De­part­ment of State Ser­vices, Yusuf Bichi, and the At­tor­neygen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami, to ex­plain why the #Revo­lu­tionnow protests con­vener, Omoyele Sowore, was still be­ing de­tained de­spite the bail granted by the court.

Jus­tice Inyang Ekwo made the or­der in a rul­ing on an ex parte ap­pli­ca­tion filed on Sowore’s be­half by his lawyer, Mr Mar­shal Abubakar.

He ad­journed till De­cem­ber 23 to en­able the two de­fen­dants to the suit filed on be­half of Sowore on De­cem­ber 10, 2019 to ap­pear through their lawyers to state their own sides of the story.

Abubakar had in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/407/2019, urged the court to or­der the DSS boss and the AGF to pro­duce Sowore in court “for an un­con­di­tional re­lease” from cus­tody based on the or­der for his re­lease made by Jus­tice Ijeoma Ojukwu on Novem­ber 6, 2019.

The DSS and the AGF had charged Sowore and his code­fen­dant, Olawale Bakare, on charges of trea­son­able felony, be­fore Jus­tice Ojukwu.

But rul­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion moved by Abubakar on Tues­day, Jus­tice Ekwo said he needed to hear from the two de­fen­dants be­fore tak­ing a de­ci­sion on the re­quest for the “un­con­di­tional re­lease” of Sowore.

He then ad­journed the case till De­cem­ber 23 as he di­rected the Deputy Chief Regis­trar of the court to serve hear­ing no­tices on the two de­fen­dants.

Sowore was re-ar­rested vi­o­lently by the op­er­a­tives of the DSS at the Fed­eral High Court in Abuja on De­cem­ber 6, barely 24 hours of be­ing re­leased from cus­tody that lasted over four months.

In an af­fi­davit filed in sup­port of the suit in­sti­tuted be­fore Jus­tice Ekwo, the de­po­nent, Abubakar, who moved the mo­tion on Tues­day, said Jus­tice Ojukwu, on Novem­ber 6, 2019, or­dered the re­lease of both Sowore and his co-de­fen­dant af­ter meet­ing the bail con­di­tions im­posed on them.

He said all ef­forts to make the DSS to com­ply with the court’s or­der were fu­tile as the agency re­fused to re­lease them.

He added, “That on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 5, 2019, this hon­ourable court per Hon­ourable Jus­tice Ijeoma Ojukwu chas­tised the friv­o­lous and vex­a­tious con­duct of the re­spon­dents herein” in­clud­ing their “at­tempt to sit as an ap­pel­late court over the or­der of re­lease made on Novem­ber 6, 2019 and awarded a cost of N100,000 against the re­spon­dent.”

“That this hon­ourable court in the course of the pro­ceed­ings of Thurs­day De­cem­ber 5, 2019, man­dated the 1st re­spon­dent to re­lease the ap­pli­cant within 24 hours.

“That the ap­pli­cant was re­leased on the said De­cem­ber 5, 2019 at about 7pm.

“That on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 6, 2019, of­fi­cials of the State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice un­der the com­mand of the 1st re­spon­dent in­vaded the court.

“That on Fri­day De­cem­ber 6, 2019, the re­spon­dents stormed the court room num­ber 7 of this Hon­ourable Court presided over by Hon­ourable Jus­tice ljeoma Ojukwu in the course of pro­ceed­ings to ef­fect re­ar­rest of the ap­pli­cant with­out an or­der of court or an ar­rest war­rant to that ef­fect.”

Sowore’s lead coun­sel, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), had ear­lier in a state­ment on Tues­day, urged the AGFTO di­rect the agency to im­me­di­ately re­lease the Sa­harareport­ers pub­lisher from “il­le­gal” de­ten­tion.

•L-R: Chief Ak­in­wande De­lano (SAN); a former Sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Com­mon­wealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Chair­man on the oc­ca­sion, Chief Oluse­gun Obasanjo; Chief Folake Solanke (SAN); rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Chief launcher, Arch Bishop Ke­hinde Stephen; launcher, Mr Fola Adeola; and guest lec­turer, Prof Toyin Falola, dur­ing the Isaac De­lano Foun­da­tion 40th me­mo­rial an­niver­sary lec­ture Pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion of book in La­gos... on Tues­day. Photo: Sa­heed Olug­bon

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