Court Threatens DSS DG over Sowore

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Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a warning that it would order the imprisonment of the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi over the failure of the agency to release the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.

The court’s warning was also based on an application by Sowore’s lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana.

A copy of the court order dated September 26 said the DSS must release Sowore as directed by the court or it would be guilty of contempt and liable to be committed to prison.

“Take notice that unless you obey the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division delivered on September 24 which ordered you to release the applicant, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” the document read.

The DSS yesterday said it was yet to effect the release of Sowore, due to the failure of Falana , to “follow laid down procedure”.

It also denied that it disobeyed a court order by holding on to the publisher of the online medium, Sahara Reporters.

Speaking in Abuja, Spokesman of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, said Sowore’s lawyer had not fulfilled certain conditions expected of him before Sowore would be set free.

“His lawyer is an experienced and knows the procedure but he has not done that. He knows what to do but he does not seem to be doing that’, he said.

“DSS has not disobeyed any court order. There is no basis to say we are disobeying a court order. There is no basis for that. We don’t do that. Falana, as experienced as he is, knows what do in the circumstance; he knows what to do.”

“He has not taken appropriate steps. There is no basis of saying that we disobeyed a court order. He has not formally followed the procedure”, he said.