•As group stages protest at DSS Abuja office
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Human rights lawyer and counsel to the detained Convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyole Sowore, Femi Falana (SAN), yesterday countered the position of the Department of State Security (DSS) that there was no representation for the release of his client, saying the statement was misleading.
Falana, while explaining the untruth in the DSS statement, explained that four lawyers from his chambers had waited at the agency’s headquarters for four hours without any response from its operatives.
This, however, came as a group of activists staged a protest at the headquarters of the agency following its refusal to release Sowore, who is also the publisher of Sahara Reporters.
The DSS had denied any representation for Sowore’s release even though it admitted to having received a court order granting Sowore bail.
Sowore had also met the conditions of his revised bail.
A Federal High Court had on Wednesday, November 6, ordered the release of Sowore and his partner, Olawale Bakare, following an application for their bail.
But the DSS refused to comply with the order, claiming it was yet to receive details of the bail.
Later on Friday, the DSS confirmed it had been served the bail order but was yet to release the accused, because no one came for him.
Falana however said in spite of acknowledging the receipt of the court order, the DSS still failed to comply with it.
“On 6/11/19 the bailiff of the federal high court wanted to serve the reproduction warrants issued by the court on the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS). But the SSS asked the Bailiff to call back at 10.00am on 7/11/19. The bailiff did and was able to serve the reproduction warrants on the DG of the SSS.
“Upon acknowledging the service of the reproduction warrants, the SSS assured the bailiff and five lawyers from the defence team that our clients would be released yesterday (Thursday). But the SSS decided not to release our clients to our lawyers who waited in vain in the agency’s headquarters for not less than four hours,” he said.
According to him, “When Sowore said that he would not make a statement without first consulting with me, the SSS management called me on phone on 6/8/19. Assuming the SSS had wanted to release our clients since yesterday, the management would have contacted me.
“Even though the SSS disobeyed the order of the Honourable Justice Taiwo for the release of Mr. Sowore on 24/9/19, it has turned round to announce its readiness to comply with the order of the Honourable Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for the release of Sowore and Bakare from illegal custody”.
Against this backdrop, a group of activists demanding Sowore’s release had staged a protest at the headquarters of DSS in Abuja at the weekend.
Led by Mr. Deji Adeyanju, the group said the agency failed to release Sowore and Olawale Bakare as ordered by the court.
“They have refused to release Sowore to me or his lawyer here. They claim they are not at work”, he said.
The DSS, while confirming receipt of the court order said, “It is important that the public notes that since the receipt of the Order, no person has turned up at the DSS to take delivery of him. This becomes imperative for reasons of accountability.
“However, the court has been properly briefed on this development and the steps being taken to ensure compliance with its order”.
The DSS statement, issued by its Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, further stated, “The service, under the leadership of Yusuf Magaji Bichi (fwc), as the Director General, is not a lawless organisation and will never obstruct justice or disobey court orders. It, therefore, affirms that it will do all that is needful once the appropriate processes have been concluded.”