Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court on Friday admitted detained convener of #Revolution Now protest, Omoyele Sowore to bail in the sum of N100m.
Also admitted to bail in the sum of N50m is Sowore’s co-defendant, Olaleye Bakare, facing alleged Treasonable felony charges among others.
Justice Ojukwu who admitted the defendants to bail in a ruling, held that the offences they were been charged with are bail-able.
As part of the bail conditions, Sowore is to produce two sureties in like sum who must be resident in Abuja and show evidence of tax payment for three years from 2014 to 2016, while Bakare is to produce one surety in the sum of N50m and also show evidence of tax payment within the same three years period.
The court in addition ordered the defendants not to participate in any form of protest pending the determination of the suit.
They are also expected not to travel without the permission of the court.
Justice Ojukwu also ordered that the defendants be remanded in custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) pending the perfection of their bail.
The matter has been adjourned till November 6,7, and 8 for commencement of trial.
Earlier, in arguing the bail application, counsel to the defendants urged the court to admit them to bail on the grounds that they are entitled to bail and that they do not have any criminal record.
Femi Falana SAN, submitted that the claim by the respondent that the defendants will jump bail being a resident of America is not tenable, stressing that the 1st defendant was a candidate in the February 23 presidential election.
On the first charge of treasonable felony, the senior lawyer argued that the word ‘Revolution’ has never been criminalised, adding that Buhari after losing election in 2003 called for a revolution and was never arrested by the respondent.
On count two which accused Sowore of insulting the president, Falana said that the law does not allow a public officer to use the machinary of state to “settle scores”, stressing that if the president feels insulted the legal option before him is to sue for libel or defamation.
Reacting to the case of Asari Dokubo cited by the respondent in opposition to the bail application, Falana claimed that Dokubo was denied bail by the Supreme Court based on his confessional statement and not because of the severity of the charge against him. He submitted that no where in Sowore’s statement was he associated with violence.
He assured the court that if granted bail the defendants will not interfere with evidence or witnesses of the prosecution.
He cited several cases where persons accused of treasonable felony were granted bail even on self recognizance and urged the court to do same for his clients or at most admit them to bail on liberal terms.
While stressing that the case of Nnamdi Kanu, who jumped bail last year was quite different from that of his client, he submitted that the respondent knows Kanu’s whereabouts and can easily extradite him if they want to.
In his opposition to the bail application, counsel to the prosecution, Hassan Liman SAN, urged the court to disregard the submissions of the defendants because they touched on the substance of the case.
He said that the charge against the defendants are severe, carrying life sentences if convicted hence the high risk of the defendants jumping their bail if granted.
While citing the case of Nnamdi Kanu who absconded from his trial after he was granted bail by a Federal High Court, the prosecution submitted that the first defendant is a flight risk being a resident of the United States of America.
Another reason the court should not release the defendants on bail is the possibility of the defendants repeating the act, adding that Sowore had on September 30 after the court’s proceedings was shouting ‘Revolution now’.
Liman in urging the court not to admit the defendants to bail said the respondent have concluded investigation and are ready for an accelerated hearing of the suit.
The federal government had on September 30 arraigned Sowore and his co-accused Olaleye on a seven count criminal charge bordering on treasonable felony, insulting President Muhammadu Buhari, money laundering amongst others.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Before their arraignment on September 30, Sowore has been in the custody of the DSS following his arrest on August 3 by operatives of the DSS over alleged plan to push for the removal of President Buhari from office through unconstitutional means.
Sowore up till this moment has remained in the custody of the DSS despite an order for his release by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on September 24.