Court Orders Detention of Sowore for 45 Days

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By Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday ordered the detention of the convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, for a period of 45 days.

The period according to Justice Taiwo is to enable the Department of State Service (DSS) carry out and conclude its investigation of Sowore on allegations of instigating the public and seeking a change of the present administration order than the provided constitutional means of doing so.

The DSS had on August 6 through an exparte application sought an order of court to detain
Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February 2019 election for a period of 90 days to enable them conclude their investigation of alleged Act of treason and terrorism.

But delivering ruling Thursday on the exparte application, Justice Taiwo held that the court had the jurisdiction to grant the request, adding that section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act under which the motion was brought empowers him to do so.

Justice Taiwo said after consideration of the argument canvassed by the DSS’ lawyer, Godwin Agbadua, he came to the conclusion that there was an allegation of commission of crime by the respondent and that investigation was still on going.

He added that since the facts were allegations “which must be proved at the appropriate place and time”, he was inclined, ” to grant the application only to the extent that the respondent shall be detained for a period of 45 days for the applicant to conclude its investigation”.

Justice Taiwo however said if at the end of the 45 days, investigation was yet to be concluded, the applicant can apply for a fresh order but must not keep him without an order of court.

Sowore was arrested in the early hours of Saturday in Lagos by men of the DSS on account of the #RevolutionNow protest which he had spearheaded.

He was then moved to Abuja on Sunday morning and is currently being detained in the custody of the DSS.

To avoid running against the Provisions of the law which stipulate that an accused cannot be detained for more than 48 hours, the agency had approached the court for an order to keep Sowore for the next 90 days pending the conclusion of investigation.

The request was contained in exparte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 915/19 and filed on behalf of the agency by Agbadua.

But trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, after listening to the submission of the DSS lawyer, said he needed time to watch the video clips attached to the motion.

The video clips include a scene showing Sowore in a conversation with leader of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and a statement alleged to have been made by Sowore to the extent that members of the recent Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) will join forces with him to bring down the government of the day.

The matter has been adjourned till September 21, when the 45 days would elapse.