Sowore Appeals Bail Condition Restricting Him To Stay In Abuja

A file photo of Mr Omoyele at the Federal High Court in Abuja. PHOTO: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

The convener of #Revolution Now protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, has filed an appeal against the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

He filed the suit alongside his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on five grounds at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

Sowore is challenging the bail condition restricting him to stay in the Federal Capital Territory, pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed against him by the Federal Government.

Sowore and Bakare are facing trial over charges of treason and money laundering filed against them by the government.

They have, however, pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

A file photo of Olawale Bakare and Omoyele Sowore in court. Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

On October 4, 2019, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted bail to Sowore to the tune of N100 million and two sureties in like sum, wherein one of the sureties was to deposit the sum of N50 million in the account of the court.

As part of the conditions, he was not to address any rally or public gathering and not to leave the FCT.

But Sowore, in his reaction, described the conditions given by the court as stringent and filed for a variation of the bail conditions.

On October 21, 2019, Justice Ojukwu set aside one of the bail conditions requesting a N50 million security deposit by one of the sureties in the bank account of the court.

Still not satisfied, Sowore approached the Court of Appeal, seeking to set aside the conditions that restricted him from addressing public gatherings and leaving the FCT.

See the court papers below:

UPDATED: Court Adjourns Trial Of Sowore, Bakare Till April

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the trial of the Convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the trial until April 1 and 2 in a ruling on Wednesday following the objection raised by the counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana.

Falana had challenged the testimony of the first witness presented by the prosecution, for giving evidence outside his written statement.

But the prosecutor, Kayode Halilu, insisted that he served a summary of the witness statement on the defendants’ counsel and the witness.

The witness is one Rasheed Olawale, a Principal Staff Officer of the Department of State Services (DSS) in charge of Surveillance and Communication Intelligence at the Lagos State Command.

After listening to both counsels, the trial judge ruled that the witness cannot be allowed to depose to a four-paragraph statement and give a 10-page of evidence.

She subsequently adjourned the trial to enable the prosecutor to reproduce the witness’ statement.

Sowore and Bakare are facing trial over treason and money laundering charges filed against them by the Federal Government.

They have, however, pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

The government had filed a motion on notice praying the court to grant an order excluding persons other than lawyers and accredited members of the press from witnessing the proceedings.

It also sought an order to clear the court whenever the prosecution witnesses were testifying, such that only the trial judge, parties and legal representatives, as well as accredited members of the press, would be able to see them.

The prosecution also asked for an order that the real names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses in the proceedings should not be disclosed.

Shortly before Sowore and Bakare’s trial began on Wednesday, Justice Ojukwu adjourned ruling on an application by the prosecution seeking to have witnesses shielded in the trial of the defendants.

This followed the request of Halilu who informed the court that the defence team served him a counter-affidavit and he needed time to reply to it.

UPDATES: Trial Of Sowore, Bakare Resumes

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The Convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, have returned to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Both men appeared before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on Wednesday over allegations of treason and money laundering, among others.

The charges were brought against them by the Federal Government, but the duo have pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

On March 5, the government had filed a motion on notice praying the court to grant an order excluding persons other than lawyers and accredited members of the press from witnessing the proceedings.

It also sought an order to clear the court whenever the prosecution witnesses were testifying, such that only the trial judge, parties and legal representatives, as well as accredited members of the press, would be able to see them.

The prosecution had also asked for an order that the real names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses in the proceedings should not be disclosed.

At the resumed sitting, the prosecutor, Kayode Halilu, informed the court that the defence team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, served him a counter-affidavit and he needed time to reply to it.

Based on the request, Justice Ojukwu adjourned the hearing of the motion and directed the prosecutor to call his first witness in the case.

Halilu called Rasheed Olawale, a Principal Staff Officer of the Department of State Services (DSS) in charge of Surveillance and Communication Intelligence at the Lagos State Command.

The witness said Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, for allegedly planning to revolt against a democratically elected government on August 5, 2019.

He added that the defendant made ‘Revolution Now’ inscriptions on Maryland Bridge, sensitising people on the need for a revolution.

Falana, however, interjected saying the witness was giving evidence outside his original statement which was an attempt to ambush them.

He, therefore, prayed the court to restrict the witness to his written statement.

Ruling on Falana’s objection, the trial judge said the defence was entitled to all documents the prosecutor intended to rely on and not just a summary of the witness statement.

She warned that the court would not allow a situation where a witness gives 10 pages of evidence after writing a one-page statement.

According to Justice Ojukwu, this will amount to subjecting the defence to cross-examine the witness based on statements not served on them.

After listening to both counsels, the trial judge ruled that the witness cannot be allowed to depose to a four-paragraph statement and give a 10-page of evidence.

She subsequently adjourned the trial until April 1 and 2 to enable the prosecutor to reproduce the witness’ statement.

Court Adjourns Ruling On Application To Shield Witnesses In Sowore’s Trial

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

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned ruling on an application seeking to have witnesses shielded in the trial of the convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the adjournment on Wednesday shortly before the trial of the duo commenced in the court.

Sowore and Bakare are facing trial over treason and money laundering charges filed against them by the Federal Government.

They have, however, pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

The government had filed a motion on notice praying the court to grant an order excluding persons other than lawyers and accredited members of the press from witnessing the proceedings.

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

It also sought an order to clear the court whenever the prosecution witnesses were testifying, such that only the trial judge, parties and legal representatives, as well as accredited members of the press, would be able to see them.

The prosecution also asked for an order that the real names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses in the proceedings should not be disclosed.

At the resumed sitting, the prosecutor, Kayode Halilu, informed the court that the defence team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, served him a counter-affidavit and he needed time to reply to it.

Based on the request, the trial judge adjourned ruling on the motion and directed the prosecutor to call his first witness in the case.

Sowore, Bakare Plead ‘Not Guilty’ To Treasonable Felony Charges

 

Mr Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant Olawale Bakare on Thursday pleaded not guilty to two-count amended charges levelled against them.

Sowore and Bakare pleaded not guilty to two-count charges of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and treasonable felony.

The Prosecutor, Kayode Alilu announced preparedness to proceed with the trial but the defence team led by Abdul Mahmud objects to the commencement of the trial on the ground that the statement of witnesses is yet to be served on them.

READ ALSO: FG To Re-Arraign Sowore On Fresh Charges

Earlier on, the Prosecutor informed the court that the FG has complied with the order of the court over the payment of N200,000 as a cost to the defendants.

Mr Abdul Mahmud informed the court that what the prosecutor served on them was the summary statement of the four witnesses, he insisted on being served with the full statements.

He also insisted that since the prosecutor has his evidence on tape, he wants him to provide the tape to be played in the open court but the prosecutor says he will need 2 weeks to provide a DVD player to present the evidence.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu after hearing all sides adjourned the case to the 11th, 12th and 13th of March for definite trial.

FG To Re-Arraign Sowore On Fresh Charges

Omoyele Sowore during his trial at the Abuja High Court on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore will be re-arraigned on fresh charges by the Federal Government.

This was after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the case following the resumption of Sowore’s trial on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The prosecutor; Kayode Alilu informed the court that the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has taken over the prosecution of the case and has filed fresh and amended charges.

READ ALSO: Soyinka, Sani In Court As Sowore’s Trial Resumes

Alilu added that they are yet to effect service of the amended charges on the defendants.

He also said the office of the AGF took over the case late last year and applied to arraign the defendants based on the amended charges.

Justice Ojukwu then ordered the prosecution to pay a sum of N200, 000 as the cost to the defendants for the frivolous application for adjournment and adjourned till February 13.

Sowore and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are facing trial over charges of a treasonable felony for organising the revolution now protest on August 5, 2019, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.

Soyinka, Sani, Odinkalu In Court As Sowore’s Trial Resumes

Nobel laureate Professor, Wole Soyinka, and a former Nigerian Senator Shehu Sani on Wednesday stormed the Abuja High Court in solidarity with the convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore.

Also, the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Chidi Odinkalu and popular activist Deji Adeyanju were in court in solidarity with Sowore whose trial resumes today.

RELATED: Alleged Treason: Judge’s Absence Stalls Resumption Of Sowore’s Trial

Sowore and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are facing trial over charges of a treasonable felony for organising the revolution now protest on August 5, 2019, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.

The trial was stalled yesterday due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu. It was subsequently adjourned till February 12.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, by the Department of State Services (DSS) and was in custody until December 24, 2019, when he was eventually released on the orders of the Attorney General of the Federation who directed the DSS to comply with the orders of the court which granted him bail.

See more photos below…

Alleged Treason: Judge’s Absence Stalls Resumption Of Sowore’s Trial

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

 

The trial of Convener of the #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was stalled today due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Channels Television gathered Justice Ijeoma was absent because she was sitting outside the court’s division.

The case was then adjourned till Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

READ ALSO: Borno Attack: We Must Explore All Options To Stop This Scourge – Atiku

Sowore and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, are facing trial over charges of a treasonable felony for organising the revolution now protest on August 5, 2019, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.

Justice Ojukwu had earlier on December 6, 2019, adjourned the matter to the 11th, 12th and 13th of February 2020 for definite hearing.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, by the Department of State Services (DSS) and was in custody until December 24, 2019, when he was eventually released on the orders of the Attorney General of the Federation who directed the DSS to comply with the orders of the court which granted him bail.

I Think Agba Jalingo Should Be Released – Gov Ben Ayade

 

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has said he thinks the embattled journalist (Agba Jalingo) should be released from the prison. 

Speaking after a long silence on the matter, Governor Ayade said the journalist who is standing trial for treason and for allegedly criticising his government, acted out of youthful exuberance.

“I am of the opinion that Agba should be released because I think he was just youthfully excited.

“If you ask Agba Jalingo today, I am the one working with his lawyers for his freedom, I am the one sustaining him and sending upkeeps,” Ayade claimed.

The governor also denied being the one who ordered the journalist’s arrest, stating that the case is between Agba Jalingo and the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: If Security Chiefs Are Not Performing, Why Is Buhari Keeping Them – Week In Quotes

“In court, it is Federal Government versus Agba Jalingo, not Cross River State,” Mr Ayade told reporters on Monday at the presidential villa, Abuja, where he went to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He’s in court for treason, a state does not have the power to try anyone for treason, it’s not me.”

Governor Ayade said the arrest and trial of Agba Jalingo are in connection with Omoyele Sowore’s #RevolutionNow protest, adding that the journalist left his core profession and began to meddle into politics.

“On his Facebook page, he sent pictures where he was being teargassed at the revolution march in Lagos. His own pictures, posted by himself and when Sowore was being arrested, he went back to his Facebook to post that the revolution has just started, ‘we will continue this battle until revolution works’. He admitted this in Court.

“You are seeing him as a journalist, but he’s not, he’s the chairman of Sowore’s party in Cross River State so he’s a politician. He has a primary calling, which is journalism.

“Once he started the campaign to overthrow the government of President Buhari, he ceased to be seen from the point of a journalist because he has become the state chairman of a party,” Governor Ayade stated.

The governor reiterated that he has been working for Mr. Jalingo’s release from Calabar prison where he has been incarcerated.

Until his arrest, Mr. Jalingo was the publisher of Cross RiverWatch.

He was apprehended was on August 22 allegedly over a report suggesting that Governor Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state, a claim which the government has strongly refuted.

We Released Sowore, Dasuki On Compassionate Grounds, Says Malami

 

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has explained that the release of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, from detention was due to the Federal Government having compassion for the duo.

Dasuki spent more than four years in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) while Sowore, the convener of #RevolutionNow protests, was held for almost five months.

According to a statement by the AGF spokesman Dr. Umar Gwandu on Friday, who quoted Mr Malami in an interview with the BBC Hausa and the Hausa Service of the Voice of America, the reason for the release of Dasuki and Sowore owes also to the commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders.

READ ALSO: Decision To Detain Dasuki, Sowore Despite Court Orders Backed By Law, Presidency Insists

He stated that both men had multiple options after the court ruling, either to appeal or review the order.

“The only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around our commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds.

“It is important to understand the fact that as far as the law is concerned and in relation to the Nigerian justice system, one has multiple options after a court has ruled on a matter.

the right to appeal the said ruling, the right to ask the same court that issued an order to vary or review the terms of the order as well as the right to request for Stay of Execution of the order pending the hearing and determination of an appeal in that matter.”

Mr Malami denied the claim that his office received any formal communication from any American Senator on the matter, stating that it was not due to any domestic or international pressure on the Federal Government.

He maintained that FG has the right to keep detaining the suspects while challenging the order admitting them to bail up to the apex court.

“Even if we received any communication from them that will never be the basis on the part of the Federal Government to obey or disobey court orders emanating from Nigeria.

“The critical question that you may ask should be whether there is a strong suspicion of committing an offence or not. If there is a strong suspicion of committing an offence which deserved, as a matter of necessity, to be investigated through legal steps then there was no room for thinking of witch-hunting an individual, scoring acrimonies or personal vendetta against anyone.

The AGF stressed that Dasuki and Sowore can now enjoy bail based on the merit of their individual cases.

“The time has now come for Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowore to also enjoy bail based on the merit of their individual cases. They were charged based on their individual cases, taken to court, granted bail and now have been released. All the individuals involved were treated fairly and justly; they were taken to court, enjoyed the court’s favourable discretion and they were all released,” he said.

Decision To Detain Dasuki, Sowore Despite Court Orders Backed By Law, Presidency Insists

Omoyele Sowore                                                                                                                    Sambo Dasuki

 

 

The Presidency has insisted that the Federal Government’s decision to hold Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Mr Omoyele Sowore did not go against the laws of the land.

Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), spent more than four years in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) while Sowore, the convener of #RevolutionNow protests, was held for almost five months.

Defending the position of the government on the prolonged detention of the duo, a presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, stressed that the government has always obeyed the orders of the court.

He, however, clarified that Dasuki and Sowore remained in detention on the advice of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami.


RELATED
DSS Releases Omoyele Sowore
Sambo Dasuki Released After Over Four Years In Detention


 

A Right To Appeal

“The Attorney General of the Federation who is the chief law officer, as far as the government is concerned, has convinced everyone and the government inclusive that there is a basis for their continued detention because the individual right must not undermine the collective right,” the President’s media aide told Channels Television on Wednesday in an interview on Politics Today.

He added, “The Attorney General of the Federation has explained the position of the government. If you like call it a new leaf, if you like accept the fact that the government has a renewed determination to show the example of how the court should be treated even when you are feeling aggrieved.

“In this particular case, the government has its own right as to how and why the bail was given, and an intention to appeal.”

“However, the government is saying, ‘let us do this to show respect for the court of the land so that all of this thing about the lack of respect for due process will just give us a chance and leave the table for now,” Shehu stressed.

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, celebrates as he departs the DSS office in Abuja on December 24, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

Dasuki was arrested in December 2015 over allegations of diverting $2.1billion arms funds while Sowore was charged along with his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, with counts of treasonable felony and money laundering among others.

The defendants have since pleaded not guilty and were granted bail by various courts.

 

A Sudden U-Turn

Following widespread outrage over the continued detention of the former NSA and the #RevolutionNow protests convener, the AGF ordered the DSS to release the duo on Christmas eve.

But President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman argued that the sudden U-turn by the government has nothing to do with pressure from any individual or group.

According to him, the AGF made it clear over time that there is a major principle of the law which says that the rights of a majority and that of a community under threat override the rights of an individual.

Shehu added that the minister took the case to a conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), adding that it was underscored by a major decision of the Supreme Court.

He stressed that it was a major principle to sacrifice the freedom of an individual for that of a larger community when the need arises, pointing out the case of Dasuki and Sowore.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu speaks about Sowore and Dasuki’s release. (file photo).

 

No Compromise

The presidential aide, however, said there was a need for those granted bail not to misinterpret their release as an acquittal but abide with the terms upon with the bail was granted.

“The government is not compromising anything but the government wants to set an example of the obedience of the law even when it disagrees with what the court says it should do,” the President’s aide clarified, adding, “The government has a position on the non-release founded in the laws of the country.”

“The Attorney General of the Federation is convinced that their continued detention did not breach the laws of the country; that it is consistent with the laws and the adjudication of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“Our understanding is that he (AGF) believes that the decision to keep them there was strongly founded in the law and so, therefore, it is not something that is extra-judicial,” he said.

Sowore: Though FG Disagrees With Court Ruling, We Want To Set An Example – Presidency

The Presidency has reacted to the release of the Convener of the Revolution Now protest, Mr. Omoyele Sowore and a former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki by the Department of State Service (DSS).

While Dasuki was arrested in December 2015, Sowore was rearrested on December 5 after his initial arrest on August 5.

Although both men regained their freedom yesterday, the Attorney General of Justice and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the release was in compliance with subsisting court orders.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration ordered their release despite not agreeing to the verdict of the court.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Govt Orders Release Of Sowore, Dasuki

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu speaks on Sowore and Dasuki’s release. (file photo).

According to him, the act by the Federal Government was to set an important example that to the world that it adheres to the rule of law.

“The government is not compromising anything. The government wants to set an important example of obedience to the law even when you disagree with what the court says you should do,” he said.

When asked to clarify some comments reportedly credited to them that there are some cabals in the current administration, the presidential spokesman accused Nigerians of coining the word.

He recalled that when ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, people also accused his government of being controlled by cabals.

“When Mr Jonathan was in office, wasn’t it said that he had a cabal? When President Yar’adua was in office, wasn’t it said that he had a cabal?

“So what we are saying is that Nigerians have formed the practice by labelling people that are in an advisable position of the President as a cabal,” he said.