Court Summons AGF, DSS DG over Sowore’s Re-arrest

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo of Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday summoned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to appear with the Convener of #Revolutionow, Omoyele Sowore.

Also ordered to appear alongside the AGF is the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi.
They are to appear before the court to show cause why Sowore should not be released on bail, pending when they would file a charge against him, if any.

The order was made sequel to an application by Sowore challenging his re-arrest and continued detention by the DSS.
Sowore was re-arrested on December 6, within the premises of the Federal High Court Abuja, barely few hours of coming out of a four-month custody at the DSS.

However, Sowore in an ex-parte application dated December 15 and filed by his lawyer, Falana, is challenging his continued detention by the federal government.

When the matter was called yesterday, Justice Ekwo noted that he had seen all the processes filed by the applicant and adjourned the case till December 23, 2019 for hearing.
The judge in addition ordered service of both the court processes and order on the respondents.

Sowore and one Olawale Bakare are standing trial on a 16-count charge bordering on treasonable felony and money laundering, amongst others.
They pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of N100 million and N30 million, respectively.

The DSS had refused to release them on bail even after they met their bail application, forcing Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu to issue a 24-hour order for their release.
However, Sowore was re-arrested less than 24 hours after his release over a yet-to-be disclosed offence.

In a three-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion ex-parte, the applicant prayed the court for an order for the production of Sowore for an unconditional release in pursuant of the release order made by the court on November 6.

The application was predicated on the grounds that the applicant was arrested on August 2 without a warrant of arrest and was further detained from August 2 to 7, without an order of court, thereby breaching his fundamental human rights.

The plaintiff further claimed that the respondents have failed or refused to obey the orders of Justices Taiwo Taiwo and Ijeoma Ojukwu both of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered Sowore’s release on bail.

Sowore’s re-arrest has continued to put the federal government in a bad light on the issue of respect for the rule of law.
On Monday, Malami had said the federal government would be guided by extant laws and tradition of the court in handling the Sowore matter.

He was reacting to the letter from Falana, seeking Sowore’s release from detention.
Falana had in the letter dated December 13, urged Malami to use his good office to facilitate the release of Sowore from the custody of the DSS.
“We remain solicitors to the defendants in the above-mentioned case pending at the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High court.

“Following the announcement of your decision to take over the case of Federal Republic of Nigeria v Omoyele Sowore and another, two members of the legal defence team visited the headquarters of the State Security Service on December 13, 2019 to demand for the immediate release of Sowore from illegal custody.

“Our colleagues were, however, advised to direct the request to your office in view of the fact that you have taken over the case from the State Security Service.

“In the light of the foregoing, we hereby request you to use your good offices to direct the State Security Service to release Sowore from custody in line with the order of the Federal High Court admitting him to bail pending trial. We are confident that you will not hesitate to grant our request as no court has issued any remand order for his detention,” Falana told AGF.