Court Fixes March 25 To Hear Sowore, Bakare’s Suit Against Malami, Bichi

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed March 25, 2020, for the hearing of the N1 billion fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare.

The duo filed their separate suits against the Director-General of the Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, over their alleged illegal detention, prior to their release in December 2019.

Sowore and Bakare are being prosecuted by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony, in November 2019.

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Operatives of the DSS arrested Mr Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, and Bakare in Osogbo, Osun State, on August 5, 2019, for organising a protest tagged #RevolutionNow, which the Federal Government alleged was aimed at toppling the regime of the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

At the resumed hearing of their fundamental rights enforcement suits, Justice Inyang Ekwo in separate proceedings fixed the hearing of the two suits for March 25 after granting the applications for the regularisation of some processes filed out of time by the parties.

Messrs Sowore and Bakare who were detained in the custody of the DSS from August to December 2019 are demanding N500m damages each in their separate suits.

The applicants also want the court to declare that their arrest without warrant of arrest “is illegal as it violates” their fundamental right ‘to personal liberty’.

Police Commit To Tackling Herdsmen Crises In Abia

Police Commit To Tackling Herdsmen Crises In AbiaThe Abia State Police Command has reiterate readiness and commitment to maintaining peace and ensure that the fundamental rights of every Nigerian is protected at all times.

The Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade, said strategies have been designed to curb clashes between the farmers and herdsmen which in recent time left members of the groups injured.

According to the Commissioner, the situation would no longer be tolerated as moves have been made by the State Government, security operatives and the warring groups to settle their differences and live in peace.

He said the Police and other security operatives have collaborated to tackle the mayhem which formed part of the discussion when he visited the Commander of 14 Brigade, Nigerian Army in Ohafia, Brigadier General Lawrence Fejokwu.

“I must say that we are working relentlessly and jointly to confront the challenges of making Abia relatively crime free.

“My vision of how to police the state include combating hideous crimes, kidnapping, drug abuse, as well as robbery, and having healthy respect for the fundamental rights of every citizen of this country and respect for the rule of law.

“I want you to know that we will use cooperative, proactive and preventive   policing to actualise the objectives.

“I am talking of synergy where all the sister security agencies would work together, actualising the fact that in togetherness lies the strength because we have the same focus to improve internal security, the same agenda which is to ensure that Abia is relatively crime free.

“I want to ask that we continue the synergy and work in that direction,” Oyebade urged.

On his part, Brigadier General Fejokwu said the Army would continue to play its part to ensure cooperative and peaceful atmosphere.

“I want to assure that we will continue to be on the heels of the criminals to make Abia State crime free.

“I am committed and promise that this synergy will not die, together we will keep it alive. We are all working for a common goal of ensuring that peace remain supreme in the state,” he said.

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose’s Accounts

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose's AccountsA Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to lift the restriction placed on some accounts belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose in Zenith Bank.

The court also set aside an earlier order of a Federal High court, Lagos empowering the EFCC to freeze two accounts domiciled in the new generation bank.

The court has consequently ordered the EFCC to immediately defreeze the two accounts belonging to the governor without further delay, on the account that the anti-graft agency did not follow due process in confiscating them.

Delivering his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said the rights of the governor had been unconstitutionally infringed upon, considering the circumstance of his office.

Justice Taiwo declared that apart from the immunity which Mr Fayose currently enjoyed as a sitting governor under section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong for the EFCC to have gone ahead to seize his two accounts in apparent perpetuity without first investigating him or making him a party.

He averred that rather than the EFCC freezing the governor’s accounts directly through the third party who did not enjoy any mandate from him, the governor himself ought to have been first investigated and brought into the picture.

The judge described Fayose as “a genuinely deprived person who rushed to the court to seek constitutional protection”.

The judge thereby gave a mandatory order the de-freezing, unblocking and making operational the two accounts by the respondents.

He said it was also the duty of any presiding judge to protect the said constitution and its interpretations whenever the need arises.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to be heard before his property or money can be seized, doing otherwise will amount to denying him fair hearing and constitutional rights”, he said.

The judge however refused to grant other relief sought by the governor, including a perpetual injunction restraining EFCC or its agents from further tampering with his property, and another one asking for payment of N5billion as exemplary damages.

“This court will not shield any person from due investigation and since Police cannot be stopped from investigating a crime, same goes for the First Respondent so as not to whittle down its functions”, the judge said.

EFCC lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was absent at the court but Fayose’s lead counsel, Ozekhome, in his reaction described the judgment as the best to be so made the EFCC in history, saying it would checkmate the agency against years of brazen arbitrariness and excesses.

The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 confiscated the two accounts having allegedly contained a sum of N2.99billion out of the N2.3 billion arms money allegedly drawn by the governor from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.

Fayose through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome approached the court and sought for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, which involved the de-freezing of the two accounts.

Court Orders Release Of Dasuki’s Former Aide

Sambo DasukiAn Abuja High Court sitting at Jabi has ordered the EFCC and the Nigerian Army to release Colonel Nicholas Ashinze, a former aide to the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).

Delivering judgment on a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by Colonel Ashinze, Justice Yusuf Haliru directed the respondents to immediately release the applicant on self-recognition.

He said that the detention of Dasuki’s aide for over three months without trial, was illegal and constituted a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of the applicant.

The court also ordered the immediate release of documents and items the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized from the house of the applicant.

Justice Haliru in his ruling on Monday, also advised both the EFCC and the Nigerian Army to behave responsibly and not to act as if Nigeria was still under military ‎dictatorship.

He said that the EFCC Act is not superior to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which stipulated that any person so detained should be charged to court within reasonable time not exceeding two months from the date of arrest.

The judge declined to grant an order directing the EFCC and Nigerian Army to either pay 500 million Naira damage or to offer public apology to the applicant who it said is still a serving military personnel.

The former aide to Colonel Sambo Dasuki has been in detention since December 23, 2015.

NBA Restates Readiness To Partner Government, Agencies In Corruption Fight

NBAThe Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed its  readiness to work, partner with the government and willing agencies in the on-going corruption war.

President of the association, Augustine Alegeh, while reinstating the association’s commitment towards the fight against corruption and corrupt practices in the nation, stated that the fight against corruption should be approached and tackled within the ambit of the law without infringing or breaching any fundamental rights or breaking the law of the land and will also ensure the delivery of justice to all and sundry.

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, and the Local Organising Committee Chairman, Solomon Umoh, both expressed concerns over the conduct of lawyers believing that members of the profession are currently under scrutiny, especially now that the war against corruption has been intensified by the Buhari administration.