Hate Speech Bill: Propose Death Penalty For Corrupt Politicians, Falana Tells NASS

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has asked the National Assembly to make laws that will pronounce death penalty for corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons.

Mr Falana while reacting in a statement to the hate speech bill currently debated by lawmakers described it as an encroachment on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

A bill to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech, sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, was introduced on the floor of the Senate on November 12 and has generated reactions across the country.

The bill proposes that any person, who commits an offence deemed as hate speech, shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

READ ALSO: Senator Vows To Go Ahead With Bill To Establish Prohibition Of Hate Speech

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), explained that the National Assembly has no power to exercise such power because Hate Speech is not covered in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.

“Since we are operating a federal system of government the supreme court of Nigeria had declared in a number of cases that the national assembly lacks the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the houses of assembly of the states. Certainly, the hate speech bill is an attempt to encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Penal Code and Criminal Code applicable in the northern and southern states respectively have made provisions for hate speech because it is a state offence. Hence, the house of assembly of each of the state has enacted laws against incitement, false accusation, sedition and criminal defamation.”

Mr Falana decried the move, urging the sponsors of the bill to uphold the decision of Nigeria’s founding fathers who created a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.

“Finally, while the leaders of the national assembly may want to advise the legislature in each of the states of the federation to review the applicable penal statutes to review the provisions on hate speech we are compelled to urge the few bloodthirsty legislators in the national assembly to amend the anti-graft laws to provide death penalty for grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons to the detriment of development in the country.”

He added that even though the bill is sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, it has been adopted by the Buhari-Led Federal Government.

He maintained that the constitutional validity of the Bill will be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the national assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dasuki/El-Zakzaky: DSS Statement A Justification Of Brazen Abuse Of Power – Falana

 

Human Rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has berated the Department of State Services for saying that a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and others, freely chose to remain in DSS custody rather than in prison.

Mr. Falana described the statement as put out by DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunaya, as a justification of the brazen abuse of power.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said instead of apologising for exposing Nigeria to underserved odium the spokesperson of the security agency asked Nigerians to believe that Sowore and Bakare, Mr. and Mrs. Elzakzaky and Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) “rather chose to be looked after by the DSS”!

“Since we are counsel to the majority of these detainees in question we are compelled to join issues with the SSS on its latest justification for such brazen abuse of power,” Falana stated.

He went on to argue that at various times in the past 4 years, the Federal High court, the Federal Capital Territory High Court, the Court of Appeal and the ECOWAS court of justice admitted Col. Dasuki to bail pending trial.

According to Falana, upon meeting his bail conditions on 30/12/15 Dasuki was released by the Kuje prison authorities. However, the SSS operatives arrested him at the gate of the prison and have since been detained in defiance of the orders of the aforementioned municipal and regional courts.

READ ALSO: DSS Statement Concerning Sowore’s Release ‘Totally Misleading’, Says Falana

Falana said, “With respect to Elzakzakys the Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed had said on June 16, 2017, that “Elzakzaky is actually not in prison custody nor police custody nor DSS custody? El-Zakzaky is in a house with his family, this is the honest truth.

“The court ruled that he will be released after his house has been rebuilt. Nobody wants to accept El-Zakzaky as a neighbor. So we have been able to build a house, where do we release him to?” When was the Elzakzakys transferred to the custody of the sss from the house built for them by the federal government?

“On another occasion, the Federal Government claimed that Mrs. Zeinat Elzakzaky was not detained but that she chose the company of her detained husband, Mr. Elzakzaky. As if that was not enough Mr. Lai Mohammed disclosed that the federal government was spending N3.5 million to feed the Elzakzaky per month. Since the Elzakzakys have been detained illegally for the past 46 months the federal government must have wasted N168 million on feeding the couple!

“The Federal Government has since justified the detention of Col Dasuki and the Elzakzakys by saying that the local and regional courts had failed to take cognisance of the fact that “national security takes precedence over the rule of law.” In fact, for not realising that Sowore ought not to have been admitted to bail the sss was reported to have threatened to report Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the federal high court to the National Judicial Council.”

The human rights lawyer further drew the attention of Mr. Bichi Mogaji, the Director-General of the State Security Service to Section 287 of the Constitution, stating that a duty has been imposed on all authorities and persons to comply with the decisions of all competent courts in Nigeria.

He urged the SSS to urgently comply with the orders of the municipal and regional courts for the release of all detainees and criminal suspects languishing in unlawful custody without any further delay.

[UPDATED] DSS Statement Concerning Sowore’s Release ‘Totally Misleading’, Says Falana

 

 

Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has described as totally misleading, a statement by the Department of State Service (DSS), concerning the release of the convener of the #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore.

A Federal High Court had on Wednesday, November 6, ordered the release of Sowore and Bakare, following an application for their bail.

But the anti-graft agency failed to comply with the order, claiming that it was yet to receive it.

The service later confirmed on Friday that it had been served the bail order, but was yet to release the accused.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Dr Peter Afunanya, nobody turned up at the Service’s office to take delivery of Sowore.

But contrary to the claims of the DSS, Mr Falana noted that they yet again failed to release his clients to the lawyers who waited in vain in the agency’s headquarters for up to four hours on Friday.

Read More: DSS Receives Court Order, Says Nobody Has Come For Sowore

He, thereafter, stated that two lawyers from his law firm had been directed to contact the management of the DSS for the release of their clients by 10:00 am on Saturday.

Read the full statement below.

FRN V Sowore & Another: The Statement Of The SSS Is Totally Misleading.

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 10.00 am 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 bailliff and 5 lawyers from the defence team that our clients would be released yesterday. 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 4 hours.

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.

It is pertinent to point out that the meaning of reproduction warrant issued by a trial court is that the defendants be produced for the purpose of releasing them having met their bail conditions.

In the instant case, the Federal High Court did not order the sss to hand over Messrs Sowore and Bakare to any person but to produce them for the purpose of releasing them having met the suffocating bail conditions imposed on them by the trial court.

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 Ifeoma Ojukwu for the release of Sowore and Bakare from illegal custody.

While thanking the Nigerian people for demanding for unconditional compliance with the orders of the federal high court we have directed two lawyers from our law firm to contact the management of the SSS for the release of our clients at 10.00 am on 9/11/19.

Meanwhile, we appeal to Sowore to call off his hunger strike forthwith.

Femi Falana SAN


[UPDATE] DSS Yet To Release Sowore – Lawyer

Hours after lawyers were sent to the headquarters of the Department of State Services on Saturday, to receive Sowore, he is yet to be released.

A member of his legal team, Barrister Marshal Abubakar, who led a team of family members to the headquarters of the DSS to receive him, confirmed this to Channels Television.

Barrister Abubakar said after putting calls across to some high ranking DSS officials, they were told to wait, as the persons who could authorise Sowore’s release were unavailable.

Alleged Treason: DSS Denies Refusing To Release Sowore

The Department of State Services (DSS) on Thursday denied reports that it has refused to comply with court order granting bail to the convener of #revolutionnow protest, Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore is standing trial for alleged treasonable felony.

The Spokesperson of the DSS, Peter Afunaya told Channels Television that the Service was yet to be informed that Sowore had perfected his bail conditions as stipulated by the court.

READ ALSO: Sowore’s Trial: My Clients Have Fulfilled Bail Conditions, Will Be Freed Soon – Falana

Despite meeting their bail conditions, Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are still in the custody of the DSS after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja had ordered their release on Wednesday, November 6.

The counsel to Sowore, Mr Femi Falana, told Channels Television on Wednesday that his clients have met the bail conditions imposed on them with regards to the charges of treasonable felony preferred against them by the Federal Government

He added that lawyers from his team and court bailiffs would go to the DSS office on Thursday morning to effect the release of his clients.

Meanwhile, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu has adjourned the trial of Sowore to the 5th and 6th of December, 2019.

The adjournment is occasioned by the objections raised by Counsel to Sowore, Mr Femi Falana to the effect that the defense team was never served with the witness statement that the prosecution is relying on to proceed with the trial.

The human rights advocate insists that there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the prosecution to ambush the defense team.

Court Orders Army To Suspend Operation Positive Identification

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Nigerian Army and its Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to suspend the ongoing Operation Positive Identification by the army.

Justice Rilwanu Aikawa ordered both parties to maintain status quo ante pending the determination of a suit filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mr. Femi Falana.

Mr. Falana, a rights activist, filed the suit marked on October 25, seeking, among others, an order stopping the operation.

The COAS, the Army and the Attorney-General of the Federation are first to third respondents in the suit.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, none of the respondents were in court.

Falana informed the judge that the respondents had been served the processes and the proof of service was in the court’s file which was confirmed by the court.

READ ALSO: Buhari Appoints Sarah Alade As Special Adviser On Finance And Economy

But a Principal legal Officer from the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Adebayo Mokuolu, asked the judge to grant an adjournment to enable the Solicitor-General, Mr. Dayo Apata, handle the matter personally and also give the respondents time to harmonise their positions, a request Mr. Falana did not oppose.

Justice Aikawa, however, granted his application and adjourned further proceedings till November 18.

“In view of the agreement between counsels, I hereby order the first and second defendants to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the case,” the judge added.

In the suit, Falana argued that the planned nationwide operation which will run from November 1 to December 23, 2019, by which Nigerian citizens would be required to move about with means of identification, is unconstitutional, illegal, and null and void.

He argued that the operation violates his right and that of other Nigerian citizens to liberty, “as encapsulated in Section 35 respectively of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as Amended and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, (Cap A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

He filed along with the suit an order seeking an interim injunction restraining the three respondents from going on with the plan pending the hearing of the substantive suit.

In a supporting affidavit sworn to by a lawyer in his team, Mr. Taiwo Olawanle, the plaintiff recalled that on October 8, 2019, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai disclosed that Operation Positive Identification, said to be ongoing in the North East theatre of Boko Haram insurgency would be extended to cover the entire nation.

He said the operation required Nigerian citizens to move about with legitimate means of identification such as the National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Drivers’ Licence and passports or other valid official identification.

He noted that the increase in deployment of security forces nationwide would be with a potential of movement disruption, and the army had thus advised Nigerians to ensure that they always carry valid means of identification.

Falana argued that by virtue of Section 215 (3) of the Constitution, the Nigerian Police “has the exclusive power to maintain law and order and secure public safety and public order in the country” and not the army.

He contended that going by section 217(1) of the Constitution, the Nigerian President could only deploy the armed forces for the suppression of insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore law and order.

But he said, “There is no insurrection in every part of the country which the Nigeria police cannot contain to warrant the deployment of armed troops all over the country from November 1, 2019, to December 23, 2019.

“Neither the Constitution nor the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN, 2004 has empowered the Nigeria Army to arrest any citizen who is not subject to service law.

“The 1st respondent (the Nigerian Army) under the leadership of the 2nd respondent is not empowered to take over police duties and the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces lacks the power to deploy members of the armed forces in the maintenance of internal security in any part of the country by virtue of Section 217 (a) (b) and (c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”

Operation Positive Identification: Why I Am Suing Nigerian Army – Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has given reasons why he is suing the Nigerian Army over the planned Operation Positive Identification.

Falana who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, said the Armed Forces have no constitutional rights to usurp the powers vested on the Nigeria Police in the nation’s internal security.

He advised the armed forces to concentrate their efforts in containing the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast rather than embarking on the “planned harassment and intimidation of Nigerians.”

“I am praying the court to restrain the Armed Forces, the Nigerian Army permanently from subjecting Nigerians to such ridiculous harassment as they are planning.

“I am actually telling the court that majority of Nigerians do not have any means of identifying themselves. They do not have passports, driving licences, voters cards or international passports,” he said.

Falana Challenges Governors To Get Involved In Police Administration

When asked if he has secured a court injunction to stop the military from carrying out the exercise, he replied saying: “I am working seriously on an injunction.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria, Vietnam Sign Visa Waiver Deal For Diplomatic, Official Passport Holders

Speaking further, he warned the military against “subjecting Nigerians and other foreigners to a degrading and dehumanizing farce which is unknown to law.”

He argued that the “Constitution has vested the police the powers of maintaining internal security in Nigeria while the Armed Forces are in charge of defending the territorial integrity of the country.

“There are a number of court decisions, not less than five, that have made it pointedly clear that the military have no business in usurping police powers by attempting to maintain law and order in this country.”

Falana’s comments come two days after Nigerian Army described the viral post of planned nationwide ‘Operation Positive Identification’ (OPI) exercise credited to the Armed Forces as a ‘Fake Alert’.

In a social media post, the Army informed the public that the security advisory which is supposed to commence from November 1, 2019, to December 23, 2019, should be disregarded.

VIDEO: ‘They Committed No Offence,’ Falana Says As Court Fixes Date For Sowore, Bakare’s Trial

Omoyele Sowore                                Olawale Bakare                                       Femi Falana

 

 

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has insisted that Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr Olawale Bakare have committed no offence.

He stated this on Friday while addressing journalists at the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Responding to a question from Channels Television reporter about the preparedness of his clients for trial, the senior advocate said, “For sure, because they committed no offence.”

Sowore, the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, was brought to the court along with Bakare by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS).

READ ALSOCourt Grants Sowore, Bakare N150m Bail


Nobody Is Above The Law

Both men are facing seven counts bordering on alleged conspiracy to commit treason and money laundering among other charges filed against them by the Nigerian Government.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were arraigned on Monday while Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered their remand in DSS custody.

Four days later, Justice Ojukwu granted the bail application of the defendants, but not without stringent conditions.

In his reaction, Mr Falana said they would ensure they do their best to meet all the conditions for his clients to regain their freedom.

He said, “We are going to explore the possibility of meeting the bail conditions and if we are unable, there are other options which we will explore under the law.

“There is nobody who is above the law in the country; we will take appropriate steps to ensure that our clients regain their freedom as soon as possible.”

On his part, the prosecutor Mr Hassan Liman believes the government is on the right path with plans to speedily prosecute the defendants.

“We are waiting to see to the fulfilment of the bail condition,” he said, adding “The court has granted accelerated hearing.”

The court has fixed the trial of Sowore and Bakare for November 6, 7, and 8, 2019.

Watch the video below:

LIVE UPDATES: FG Arraigns Sowore, Bakare

Convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, at the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 30, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 


Welcome to our live updates page on the arraignment of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare.


The duo are being arraigned by the Federal Government on seven charges bordering on alleged conspiracy to commit treason, money laundering, and insulting the President, among others.

They were brought to the court on Monday by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

However, counsel to Sowore and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, is absent in court.

The arraignment comes one week after Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered the release of Mr Sowore, more than five days after a detention order the judge issued against him elapsed.



11:57 AM: The defendants’ lawyer asked for a short adjournment to enable him move the bail application which he said will be filed today and served today.

11:51 AM: The trial judge said the bail will be granted based on the terms of the court and asked Mr Olumide to file a formal bail application.

11:49 AM: For the second defendant, Mr Olumide said he is concerned with only two of the counts. He made an oral application but he was stopped by the judge who said a formal bail application must be made.

11:44 AM: The defendants’ counsel informed the court that the reason given for keeping them in custody was for the DSS to conclude investigation and the prosecutor has just confirmed that investigations have been concluded.

He noted that the first defendant has been admitted to bail prior to today but has not been allowed to enjoy the bail.

Olumide asked the court to admit Sowore to bail on the basis of the condition for bail which he was formally granted.

“We can make available to the court evidence of bail conditions met. His passports and other travel documents are with the Chief Registrar of this court,” the lawyer added.

11:43 AM: The prosecutor asked for a date for trial after telling the court that investigations have been concluded.


11:45 AM: Count 7 is transfer of funds. “That you Omoyele Sowore on 16th July at Lagos and Abuja committed an offence by transferring the sum of $16,975 from your account in USA with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the funds. He pleaded not guilty.

11:40 AM: The sixth count is transfer of funds contrary to the Money Laundering Act. “That you Omoyele Sowore on the 27th of June did commit an offence by transferring the sum of $16,967 credited by Sahara Media Group USA with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the funds.

He entered a not guilty plea.

11:38 AM: Sowore was also accused of transferring $20,475 dollars from his UBA account credited by Sahara Reporters Media Group in New York with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the funds. He also entered the same “not guilty” plea.

11:37 AM: Sowore said he is confused that he has no UBA account and does not understand how one can transfer money from City Bank through UBA to another bank.

He, however, said since his counsel has advised him to enter a plea, it is a not guilty plea.

11:36 AM: The next count is transfer of funds. “That you Omoyele Sowore on April 2019 at Lagos and Abuja commit an offence by transferring the sum of $19,975 from your UBA account credited by City Bank, USA into a Sahara Bank Account with the aim of concealing the origin of the funds.”

11:34 AM: Cyberstalking is the third charge. “That you, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, and others at large did commit offence by sending a message by means of press interview to Arise TV which you knew will cause insult and hatred towards the President.”

11:32 AM: Sowore said he was arrested on August 5th and so does not understand the charge. His co-defendant, Bakare, also says he does not understand the charge.

Both defendants say they are pleading not guilty based on the advice of their lawyer.

11:31 AM: The second charge is on treasonable felony. ‘That you, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, and others at large under the coalition for revolution staged a revolution campaign on 5th day of August aimed at removing the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces during his tenure in office.


11:31 AM: Charges are being read to the defendants. The first charge is ‘conspiracy to commit treasonable felony’.

“That you, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, under the name #RevolutionNow, did conspire amongst yourself to carry out revolution protests aimed at removing the President.”

Both defendants say they understand the charge as far as the English language goes. They pleaded not guilty.

11:24 AM: The trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu is ruling. She said the counsel does not take plea on behalf of defendants and since charges have been served on them, they are at liberty to take their plea.

According to the judge, it should be noted that a defendant can decide to change his plea and she sees no breach to stop them from taking their plea.

She added that incidentally, none of the defendants has said that the order of court asked that they should not be charged to court.


11:12 AM: Olumide said when Sowore’s lawyer served the prosecution with form 48, they went to the press to say they will report the judge to the National Judicial Council (NJC), trying to scare judges.

He insisted that they served Falana of their intention to arraign on the pages of newspapers, saying “we know those who do cases on the pages of newspaper.”

He said the order of the court is before the court and the court can go ahead to decide, stressing that a party cannot disobey the court and seek favours from the same court.

11:07 AM: Olumide insisted that the defendants have had no interactions with their lawyers.

He also insisted that orders of court must be obeyed before the government can come for another favour from the court.

11:04 AM: Liman said the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo has expired and has no life since the defendants are available for arraignment.

He added that what they are expected to do is take their plea.

11:00 AM: He said the submission of Sowore’s lawyer is for the press.


10:45 AM: The defendants’ counsel informed the court that on September 24, the Federal High Court made the following orders:

That the respondent be released forthwith but he must deposit his travel document with this court within 48 hours with the court, and that the defendant must be released to Mr Femi Falana forthwith and that Mr Falana must produce him whenever it is time for his trial.

10:38 AM: Olumide, however, says he is taking aback by the statement of the prosecutor. He said his colleague cannot stand up and tell the court that he cannot have his opinion added.

He insisted that it is not another court but the Federal High Court which granted an order of release and the case is the same as the one before the court.

10:37 AM: Liman said if Olumide is talking about not having access to his client, that is okay but nothing else that is not before the court can be brought forward.


10:36 AM: Olumide was cut short by Liman who also addressed the court. According to the prosecutor, the business of the court is arraignment and the proceedings in another court have no business in the matter of the court.

He said this is the first time the defendants are being arraigned and the history at another court should not be allowed to create the impression that something else has happened.

10:35 AM: The second reason the court ought not to allow the arraignment today, according to the defendants’ counsel, is that their appearance today has a history.

10:34 AM: He said Falana was at that office until 10:30 PM on Friday, adding that he only read about the arraignment on the newspaper.

10:33 AM: Olumide said while it is true that the defendants were served on September 20, it is only in this court that one of the defendants asked him what is served on him, as he is seeing it for the first time and the opportunity for a consultation has not happened.

10:31 AM: He adds that it was only on Sunday that Mr Falana called him to inform him of his being outside Nigeria and appealed to him to hold his brief.

He adds that the information Falana gave to him was that throughout last week, he was resuming and closing at the office of the DSS and was denied access to the defendants.


10:30 AM: Olumide explains that the first, being that it is part of a process of arraignment for the defendants to have access to their lawyers who will go through the charge and advise then on what steps to take.

10:29 AM: However, counsel to the defendants said that his clients are not in any position to take their plea this morning. He gave two reasons for this.

10:28 AM: Mr Liman informed the court that the case is set for arraignment and since the first and second defendant are in court and have been served with the charge on September 20, 2019, the government is ready to arraign them.

10:25 AM: He said he is holding the brief of Mr Femi Falana who is unable to be in court this morning.


10:25 AM: Counsel to Sowore, A. Olumide, also announced his appearance.

10:22 AM: The prosecutor, Mr Hassan Liman, announced his appearance on behalf of the Federal Government.

10:21 AM: The case has been called while Sowore and Bakare are in the dock.

9:37 AM: The judge returns to court.


9:28 AM: Journalists were asked to leave the court, but were eventually allowed to stay.

9:25 AM: Sowore was greeted by his supporters who did not realise that the trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had arrived, forcing the judge to return to chambers.

9:17 AM: Mr Sowore arrives in court in company with his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare.


Thank you for staying with us.

Falana, Ozehkome, Exchange Words Over Ex-CJN Onnoghen’s Case

Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome on Tuesday disagreed over lawyers’ reaction to the removal of immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen.

They both exchanged words during the Rule of Law Session of the 59th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference (AGC) in Lagos.

Ozekhome berated lawyers for not pouring out on the streets and shutting down the government to protest Onnoghen’s prosecution and conviction by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

READ ALSO: Court Declines To Hear Sowore’s Application Challenging Detention By DSS

He made reference to the case of President Pervez Mushraf who on March 9, 2007, according to him, unjustly and unconstitutionally removed Muhammed Mushraf as the Chief Justice.

“Can’t we do more than we have done”? Ozekhome questioned. He also faulted the NBA for not coming out to protest during Onnoghen’s removal.

In a swift reaction, Falana said the Chief Justice of Pakistan was not removed for corruption as in the case of Onnoghen.

He questioned the former president of the NBA Olisa Agbakoba saying, “Olisa, can the NBA morally go to the street to fight for judges who have millions that they cannot account for in their account?”

Minority Leader of the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe had earlier decried President Muhammadu Buhari’s removal of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen from the Supreme Court.

Abaribe blamed the Nigerian Bar Association and fellow judges for not taking action and remaining silent knowing fully well that a Chief Justice cannot be removed without coming to the Senate.

“In the matter of Onnoghen, what happened? We waited for the NBA, nothing happened? We waited for the fellow judges nothing happened. Because the law is very clear, you cannot remove a Chief Justice without coming to the senate yet, it happened, and nothing happened.”

The former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba also at the event said Onnoghen’s removal would serve as a reference point in the future. He also appreciated Senator Abaribe for “telling us the truth.”

I Have Compiled 32 Court Orders Being Disobeyed By Nigerian Govt – Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says he has compiled a list containing 32 court orders which were disobeyed by the Nigerian government.

The Human rights advocate said this in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily. He also tasked members of Nigerian Bar Association of Nigeria (NBA) to rise up to their duties.

He added it is not the responsibility of a president or even an attorney general to handpick which court order to obey.

“In my latest compilation, I’ve compiled about 32 court orders being disobeyed flagrantly by the government of Nigeria which is not in line with the rule of law.

“It doesn’t lie in the mouth of an attorney general or the president of a country to choose and pick which orders of court to obey.

“When you do that, you are reducing the status of the country to a banana republic. And that is why the bar has to rise up now and take its rightful place,” he said.

Falana warned that unless proactive steps are taken, nobody will respect the rights of Nigerians because “there is no penalty for impunity in our country.”

READ ALSO: U.S Imposes New Visa Charges On Nigerians, Blames FG For Decision

During the interview, he added that Human Rights, the Democracy and Rule Of Law are not all taken seriously in Nigeria.

He blamed this on the NBA noting that it is stated clearly in the constitution of the NBA that human rights and the rule of law be defended.

“The official bar and the private bar have not taken the issue of human rights and democracy or even the rule of law seriously.

“We have a new human rights regime in our country on paper that can be compared with that of any civilised or advanced bourgeoise democracy

“For instance, under the current political dispensation, no Nigerian shall be detained in any detention center in Nigeria without an inspection, monthly inspection of the facility by a chief magistrate or a judge of the federal high court. In other words, you can no longer have indiscriminate arrest and detention,” he said.

The constitution provides that anybody who is arrested by the police shall be taken to court within 24 or 48 hours.

Falana said Nigerian lawyers should be burdened that illegal arrests occur on a daily basis in Nigeria.

The law, he said, provides that before you search or arrest a Nigerian, you must obtain a court order from a Federal High court.

“If you want to search his house, you obtain an order like a search warrant. If you want to seize his phone, you get an order, because your right to liberty, your right to the privacy of your home and correspondent are constitutionally entrenched.

“So, if you are going to violate any of those rights, you must obtain a court order. But what happens in Nigeria? You go and invade somebody’s house in the dead of the night, when you have kept him for few days, you suddenly realize ‘oh I need a court order’ then you rush to court. No, that’s not our law.”

Falana decried the situation when security officers raid communities and arrest people on the road for wandering, adding that the law on wandering has been “abolished as far back as 1989.”

He lamented that the poor and indigent people in Nigeria are on the receiving end and the only way Nigerian lawyers can stem this tide is to be armed with the law.

El-Zakzaky: I Hope Other Court Orders Would Also Be Complied With – Falana

 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has commended the ruling of the Kaduna State High Court which ordered the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat for medical treatment.

Mr Falana who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said allowing them to go for medical treatment abroad has saved the country from a major crisis.

“I was pleased to learn last night that the State Security Service announced that the order will be complied with and I think that is a good development,” he said.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also called for the immediate release of others in custody.

“I do hope that other court orders including the one of Dasuki will be complied with so that we can join the rest of the committee of civilized nations”.


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Also speaking about the recent arrest of the publisher of online news medium, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, he said Nigerians are entitled to peaceful protests.

However, according to him, the government is clamping down on the protesters this time around because of the use of the word “revolution”.

“If you are going to detain a citizen like Sowore, you can’t detain him for more than 24 hours in a place like Lagos.

“If you are going to detain Sowore beyond 24 hours, you must go and get a court order,” he stated.

Sowore was arrested on August 3 over what was believed to be a series of planned protests against bad governance in the country scheduled for August 5, 2019.

Protest Marches Are Not Treasonable Offences In Nigeria, Says Falana

 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says protest marches in Nigeria are not treasonable offences.

Falana made this known on Sunday according to a statement he issued.

His comments follow the arrest of former Presidential Aspirant of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general elections, Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Service.

While describing the planned protests by Sowore and some individuals as ‘treasonable felony and acts of terrorism’, the police vowed to resist any act that can lead to a breach of law and order in the country.

But reacting, Falana noted that the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests.

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“No doubt, the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests. If revolution has become a criminal offence in Nigeria why were the leaders of the APC not charged for claiming to have carried out  Nigeria’s democratic revolution which terminated the 16-year rule of the PDP in 2015?

“Why was Dr Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) not threatened with treason when he asked Nigerians to rise up for revolution via the 2019 general election?

“Did all Nigerian senators led by APC members not commit treason or terrorism when they spent one and a half hours on May 14, 2019 to debate Senator Chukwuka Utazi’s timely motion on “Bridging the gap between the haves and have-not to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution?, he asked.

Falana also criticised the Muhammadu Buhari administration for clamping down on individuals perceived as its critics.

He noted that “it is worrisome that the Buhari administration has decided to extend the ambit of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act to cover individuals and organisations that are critical of official policies or perceived marginalisation within the federation.”