The Nigerian Government has ordered the release of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.
Malami said the decision to release them was in compliance with the bail granted the two by the court.
The statement reads:
“The office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation has reviewed the pending criminal charges against the duo of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Omoyele Sowore.
“Whilst the Federal High Court has exercised its discretion in granting bail to the defendants in respect of the charges against them, I am also not unmindful of the right of the complainant/prosecution to appeal or further challenge the grant of bail by the court having regards to extant legal provisions, particularly Section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
“However, my office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts.
“In line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and in compliance with the bail granted to Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release.
“The two defendants are enjoined to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land.
“I wish to reiterate again the utmost regard of my office for the entire judicial structure of Nigeria.
“This administration remains unrelenting in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general.”
Freedom At Last
Dasuki has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) for over four years while Sowore was taken into custody since August 2019.
Both men would celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, provided they are released by the DSS as ordered by the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Dasuki was arrested in December 2015 over an allegation of diverting $2.1billion arms funds while serving as the National Security Adviser during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He was arraigned in court and was granted bail with certain conditions, but the Federal Government refused to release him in disobedience to the court order.
On July 14, 2019, the Court of Appeal in Abuja declared the continued detention of the former NSA since December 29, 2015, by the DSS as illegal, unlawful, and unconstitutional.
The appellate court held that the DSS and its Director-General acted outside their constitutional powers on the long period of the detention of a Nigerian citizen and imposed a fine of N5 million on them to be paid to Dasuki as compensation for breach of his fundamental right.
Four months later and in view of his continued detention, the Court of Appeal varied the terms attached to the bail earlier granted the former NSA.
It expunged the requirement that Dasuki should produce a Level 16 civil servant who must own a property worth N100million within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as surety.
Rather, the court ordered that the former NSA produce two sureties with properties worth N100 million within the FCT.
On the other hand, the DSS arrested Sowore, the publisher of online media outfit Sahara Reporters, on August 3.
The activist was arraigned along with his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare, on counts bordering on treasonable felony and money laundering among others but they denied the charges.
Both men were also held by the security agency despite the order of the court granting them bail, but the DSS insisted that it did not disobey the court.
Sowore and Bakare were later released on December 5, but the Sahara Reporters publisher was rearrested barely 24 hours after by the DSS.