Femi Falana, Human Rights Lawyer, has criticized the Department of State Security Services (DSS) for re-arresting his clients, Mr. Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare at a Federal High Court in Abuja, barely 24 hours after their release from DSS custody.
Mr. Sowore and his co-accused, Mr. Bakare, were released on Thursday night, following an order given by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu who gave the security agency a 24-hour ultimatum to affect the bail order earlier issued. Speaking to Reporters on Friday, he stressed that the DSS had said they were inviting the duo for questioning at their office to answer a few questions on fresh charges, but are yet to disclose what they are.
“The atmosphere was very rowdy, but I insisted that the arrest could not be carried out within the precinct of the court. He was going to be arrested outside the premises but there was a crowd that resisted the arrest, but I appealed to everybody and asked Sowore to jump into my car and so we drove to the office of the SSS because they said he will just answer a few questions, but now he is being detained. We are going to take steps under the law by asking for his release again since they are claiming this is a fresh arrest. Nobody has disclosed yet what his charges are; he couldn’t have committed any other offence because he has been detained for the past four months unless the SSS wants to tell the whole world that he committed this fresh offence while in their custody,” he stressed.
He also narrated the build-up to Sowore and Bakare’s re-arrest, expressing dismay at the actions of the DSS.
“This morning, the SSS lawyers and the lawyers of the Attorney-General reported to the court that the order of the court had been complied with and I confirmed because our clients were released last night. As soon as the court adjourned the matter to February next year, the SSS operatives pounced on the court, disrupted proceeding and then attempted to arrest our clients even in the web of the court, that was extremely embarrassing because it has never happened in Nigeria where you enter a court to arrest anybody, even an alleged coup plotter.”
Mr. Sowore and Mr. Bakare who were released at about 7:15 pm on Thursday are facing seven counts bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, money laundering and cybercrimes, amongst others. They were arrested on August 3, days before a planned #RevolutionNow protest against “bad governance” in the country.