Court Demands Explanation From DSS, AGF Why Sowore Is Held In Custody After Granted Bail

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the Attorney-General 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.

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The DSS and the AGF had charged Sowore and his co-defendant, 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 presided over by 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 AGF to direct the agency to immediately release the SaharaReporters publisher from “illegal” detention.

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