Court Orders DSS To Release Sowore, Bakare Within 24 Hours

Omoyele-Sowore-Olawale-Bakare-Femi-Falana

 

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to release Mr. Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, within the next 24hours. 

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the order at the scheduled commencement of the defendants’ trial on charges of treasonable felony.

According to Justice Ojukwu, the DSS had no justifiable reason to continue to hold the defendants in custody, after she signed the warrants for the release of the defendants from custody.

The prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), had insisted that the DSS did not refuse to comply with the order of the court.

He insisted that no order of the court has been violated, adding that none will be violated.

READ ALSO: ‘Sowore Is Not Miyetti Allah’, FG Is Treating Judiciary With Disdain

According to him, the prosecution don’t even want the defendants in their custody.

The trial judge Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu asked him why have they not been released, a question which left him tongue-tied.

She insisted that she signed the bail order and she does not understand why it has not been complied with.

Justice Ojukwu said the matter will not continue, adding that since today’s matter is adjourned at their instance she will award a cost of 100000 against the prosecution.

“The failure of the prosecution to carry out the order of the court to serve the defence and in view if this adjournment is at the instance of the prosecution and in view of section 396 of ACJA, I will award the cost of 100,000 against the prosecution and in view of the refusal of the prosecution to release the defendant this court will give the prosecution the next 24 hours to comply with the order of court,” She said.

Justice Ojukwu insisted that the law cannot change for anybody and all must respect the law.

The case has been adjourned to the 6th of December for a report on the court’s order.

‘Sowore Is Not Miyetti Allah’, FG Is Treating Judiciary With Disdain – Soyinka

 

 

Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that the Federal Government’s continued disobedience to court rulings especially with regards to the case of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, is an act of disrespect to the Judiciary. 

The Nobel Laureate said the nation continues to undergo the chagrin of having the rug pulled from under her feet while waiting on the long queue for judicial redress against the strong-arm culture of the state, as well as unlisted power interests.

In the case of Sowore who was arrested for calling for revolution to protest against bad governance via his #RevolutionNow# movement,  Soyinka asked: “Is Sowore Miyetti Allah?”

He further stated that “As for those agencies that actually think to inhibit social revolution by fastening on the alarmist association of the word ‘revolution’, half the citizens of this nation should be in permanent detention. From pulpit to the minaret, from clinic to fish market, from student club to motor park, the wish for a drastic transformation of this nation is staple discourse.”

Soyinka also stated that the degree of cynicism in the conduct of State Security agencies in the present administration has attained a level of consistency that is surpassed by only one other previous government.

The playwright and critic in a statement titled, ‘Between thuggery and state disobedience’, said it is sad that not only have the State Security agencies refused to obey a court order to release the suspect after fulfilling his bail conditions, but they have also manufactured one childish pretext after another, including a claim that no one has shown up to receive the detainee.

He condemned the arrest and continued detention of the human rights activist under what he described as the often specious alibi labeled “national security”.

Soyinka said much of the judiciary across the continent remains constantly under siege, adding that Nigeria is no exception.

Below is the state as published by the Nobel Laureate.

READ ALSO: Court Threatens To Jail DSS Boss Over Sowore’s Continued Detention

 Between THUGGERY and STATE DISOBEDIENCE

I have no hesitation in admitting that I have a  personal, formative interest in the health of the Nigerian judiciary, deeper perhaps than the average Nigerian. At a critical junction in the life of this writer, a judge resolved to give primacy to the call of conscience, affirm his professional integrity and defend the supremacy of law in defiance of state interference.

He refused to bow to external pressure in adjudicating a case whose conclusion, had this accused been found guilty as charged, would have been life imprisonment. That individual, the late Justice Kayode Eso, has narrated the event in his autobiography – The Mystery Gunman with his noted wit and judicial poise.

The Deputy Premier of the then Western region of Nigeria had summoned the judge to his residence, lectured him on his duty to protect the interests of the government against the accused. Justice Kayode listened politely, re-affirmed his commitment to the rule of law, and took his leave.

It would be most surprising if my own brush with the law has not crossed my mind since the predicament of Omoyele Sowole, journalist and former presidential candidate began.

The Nigerian judiciary was not thereby, nor is today a model of perfection.

Nonetheless, exemplars such as Justice Esho have succeeded in creating, in some of us, an exceptional respect for the Bench, instilled a conviction that the law, despite its lapses, demands respect, autonomy, and obedience.

Much of the judiciary across the continent remains constantly under siege – Nigeria is no exception. Needless to say, it often strikes me that the “learned brotherhood” could do more to protect, and assert itself. Apart from the obvious and numerous scandals of moral deficit that require constant internal purgation, there are instances where it does fail to protect itself even from putative and/or illegal power.

Take the assassination of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Bola Ige on his way to a UN appointment. The presiding judge on that case cried out against unseemly interference from “ least expected quarters”.

He kept a diary of coded names and times, two pages of which came into my possession. His cries petered out in the void. Justice Abass, feeling vulnerable and isolated, bowed out of the case. The judiciary lamely acquiesced, certainly with a huge sigh of relief in some sectors. A robust opportunity lost to burnish the image of the law. I was left aghast.

From tragedy to slapstick tragi-comedy – let us pull up an eye-witness account from the Nigerian PM News of Thursday, September 2014:

Temperamental Ekiti state Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, slapped a court judge today for being rude to him and then ordered his thugs to beat him further.

The action of Fayose and his thugs triggered some pandemonium in the court, with judicial workers and others running into safety. The sitting of the Ekiti State Governorship Election petition Tribunal could also not hold.

Immediately, thugs numbering about 20 pounced on Justice Adeyeye, beat him up and tore his clothes, while his co-workers scampered and shouted for help.

Following the development, judicial workers hurriedly shut down the court premises thereby preventing any court proceeding for hours before the police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the hoodlums.

For a week, two weeks, then forever, `I waited to see what would be the response of the judiciary. There came none. Naively, I thought, surely, this institution will rise and defend its very existence through some form of action, even if merely symbolic. Not a squeak. Not even after that governor left office and thereby lost his immunity. What to me appeared to be the collapse, not just of a pillar, but of the edifice of human culture, appeared to be no more than a blip on the judicial template.

There are of course more effective ways of degrading a judiciary than merely brutalizing a judge, and leaving his judicial robes in tatters. One of the most effective, increasingly optimized in Nigeria, is simply by not only ignoring, but treating its orders with disdain, encouraging its agencies to trot out cynical excuses for disobedience while laughing all the way to the citadel of power.

In that regard, there does appear to be an undeclared contest among succeeding governments, intensified since the return of the nation to a civilian government in 1999 for placement in the Guinness Book of Records as the most notorious Scofflaw in the field of democratic pretensions. Or could it be an anticipation of a proposal I made at the Athens Democracy Forum some months ago, calling for an annual award – such as an Order of Demerit – for such an achiever?

Perhaps we have finally attained maximum saturation, and there is no need for any further record keeping. It is extremely difficult to imagine a further lowering of the bar of disdain for the law than we have witnessed under the present regime. The degree of cynicism in the conduct of State Security agencies has attained a level of consistency that is surpassed by only one other previous government – but it is a close call. Not only does the security agency refuse to obey a court order to release a suspect after fulfilling his bail conditions, but that agency also manufactures one childish pretext after another, including a claim that no one has shown up to receive the detainee.

“His sureties have yet to show up to collect him”, declared the DSS, prime candidate for a special featuring in my “Interventions” series, periodically dedicated to the theme of The Republic of Liars. Are we speaking here of a full-grown adult, a journalist and former presidential aspirant, or an overnight bag awaiting the rightful claimant in a LOST AND FOUND department?

The nation continues to undergo the chagrin of having the rug pulled from under her feet while waiting on the long queue for judicial redress against the strong-arm culture of state, as well as unlisted power interests.

For instance, Lagos state, the former capital, and still the acknowledged commercial capital of the nation, once found herself denied statutory allocation for several years, despite repeated court declarations that such withholding by the central government was unconstitutional and should be remedied forthwith.

That president took sadistic pleasure in simply playing deaf. It took his successor to end the abuse and restore the full entitlements of that state, disobedience that went beyond mere churlishness but affected the development and welfare of the indigenes of that state. And so on, and on, waiting in vain for that day when the Rule of Law becomes commonplace, and its benefice is not doled out by the drop to famished mendicants.

So, finally, what do thuggery and court disobedience have in common?Everything! They are both Scofflaw manifestations. Unilateral declarations of Supra-Law delusions.

One is simply a more structured, more hypocritical version of the other. One knows itself for what it is, while the other tries to camouflage its abnormality under a higher purpose, the more elastic the better . Such is that often specious alibi labeled “national security”.

Is Sowore Myetti Allah? As for those agencies that actually think to inhibit social revolution by fastening on the alarmist association of the word ‘revolution’, half the citizens of this nation should be in permanent detention. From pulpit to the minaret, from clinic to fish market, from student club to motor park, the wish for a drastic transformation of this nation is staple discourse.

Perhaps we should begin with its application to that institution whose decisions affect both society and individuals with such finality, for good or ill – the judiciary.

Obey Nigerian Courts Like You Obey British Courts, Falana Tells FG

 

 

A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana has asked the Federal Government to start complying with Nigerian Court injunctions the same way it heeds the ruling of foreign courts. 

Mr. Falana a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), accused the Federal Government of disobeying valid court orders in Nigeria while it complies with orders from Britain.

A British commercial court had ordered a deposit of $200m dollars while granting a stay of execution for a $9.6 billion dollar judgement awarded against Nigeria in favour of Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) limited.

READ ALSO: Sowore: SERAP Petitions African Commission Over ‘Harassment Of Sureties, Falana’

In line with the ruling, the country’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami confirmed on Thursday that a $200 million bond deposit was made following the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a letter to the AGF on Sunday, Mr. Falana said the Federal Government did not give any pre-condition before obeying the court of its “former colonial master” as it does at home.

He, therefore, asked the federal government to comply with court orders and release Mr Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #revolution-now movement.

According to him, if the AGF fails to accede to his request, he will be left with no option than to pursue the contempt proceedings which have been initiated against the director-general of the DSS, Mr. Yusuf Bichi, as well as report the AGF and the prosecutor to the Nigeria Bar Association and the legal practitioners privileges committee for encouraging the State Security Service to treat orders of Nigerian courts with disdain while obeying the orders of British courts.

Court Threatens To Jail DSS Boss Over Sowore’s Continued Detention

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

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has threatened to jail the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, over the continued detention of the convener of the #revolutionnow movement, and his co-accused Olawale Bakare.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the warning on Monday after previously issuing a “notice of consequences of disobedience of court order,” on the DSS.

READ ALSO: SIM Card Fraud: Banks, Telecom Operators Risk Losing Customers, Says Lawmaker

The court warned that unless the DSS director general obeyed the order of the Federal High Court ordering him to release the defendants, he would be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019 for planning a protest which gained public attention under the hashtag #revolutionnow and has been in detention since then.

Although they had been granted bail twice, both Sowore and Bakare have still not been released by the DSS, which insists that Sowore would only be released to his sureties.

Meanwhile, Sowore has also filed a suit against the agency demanding N500 million for illegally detaining him and violating his fundamental human rights.

Sowore: SERAP Petitions African Commission Over ‘Harassment Of Sureties, Falana’

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to Mrs Soyata Maiga, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the commission’s members requesting them: “to urgently intervene and put pressure on the Nigerian authorities and their agents to immediately end the intimidation and harassment of detained journalist and activist Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare.

In the letter, SERAP asked the commission to also pressure the government for the harassment of the detainees’ sureties and lawyers, particularly Femi Falana, SAN who are only defending their clients’ rights.

According to SERAP, “Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) has stated that it would not release the activists until it is allowed to vet sureties that have already been verified by the court, implicitly harassing the sureties apparently with the aim of pushing them to disown the detained activists. Similarly, a group of apparently sponsored ‘protesters’ calling themselves ‘Save Nigeria Movement’ asked Femi Falana to ‘stop intimidating security agencies.’”

In the petition dated 22 November 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The harassment of detained activists for demanding strict compliance with court orders, and then their sureties as well as lawyers who come to their defence, shows a steady slide away from the rule of law and underscores the urgent need for the Commission to insist on the restoration of respect for human rights in Nigeria.”

SERAP also said: “The harassment is emblematic of a broader pattern of official threats to and harassment of Nigerian civil society. We are concerned that rather than releasing Sowore and Bakare as ordered by the court, the Nigerian authorities are now implicitly intimidating the activists, sureties, and lawyers, particularly Femi Falana.”

READ ALSO: Tackle Electoral Violence, Not Third Term, PDP Tells Buhari

The letter copied to Mr. Diego GARCÍA-SAYÁN, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, read in part: “Apparently sponsored attacks, harassment, and intimidation of sureties and lawyers for doing their independent duties undermine and erode the integrity of the legal profession, access to justice, Nigerians’ confidence in the courts, and make a mockery of the entire justice system.”

“The harassment is emblematic of a broader pattern of official threats to and harassment of Nigerian civil society. SERAP is seriously concerned that rather than releasing Sowore and Bakare as ordered by the court, the Nigerian authorities are now implicitly intimidating the activists, sureties, and lawyers.”

“SERAP condemns the use of apparently sponsored protesters to harass and intimidate Sowore and Bakare’s lawyers particularly Femi Falana. The intimidation and harassment of Sowore and Bakare’s legal team is intended to, and will most likely lead to, other lawyers being unwilling to defend anyone facing politically motivated and high-profile prosecutions.”

“Sureties and lawyers are essential to ensure the effective operation of the justice system, and the rule of law; they need to be protected not harassed and intimidated. Lawyers ought to have the freedom to carry out their legal work and should never have to suffer any intimidation and harassment for discharging their professional duties.”

“These actions hinder the ability of lawyers to freely carry out their professional duties and severely restrict access to justice and fair trials for the detainees, with a consequent erosion of fair administration of justice, equality of arms, and the rule of law. By targeting the detainees’ sureties and lawyers, the Nigerian authorities are implicitly harassing and denying them their right to claim justice.”

“Sowore and Bakare were arrested simply for calling a national protest. Amnesty International has declared them prisoners of conscience detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Sowore, Bakare, their sureties and lawyers particularly Femi Falana continue to face hostility, intimidation and harassment.”

“As one of the main actors of an independent justice system, lawyers have an essential role to play in protecting human rights, in particular due process and fair trial guarantees, and ultimately contribute greatly to ensuring respect for the rule of law.”

“The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders affirms the right of everyone peacefully to oppose human rights violations. It prohibits retaliation, threats and other harassment against anyone who takes peaceful action against human rights violations, both within and beyond the exercise of their professional duties.”

“Similarly, the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers provide that governments are to ensure that lawyers are able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.”

“Further, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party guarantees the right to freedom of expression; the prohibition of arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial and due process of law. Nigeria is also a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which in Article 14 guarantees the right of the clients of the concerned lawyers to an effective defense.”

“Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) has continued to refuse to release Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare despite court orders.”

“The SSS has stated that it would not release the activists until it is allowed to vet sureties that have already been verified by the court, implicitly harassing and intimidating the sureties and by extension, the detainees and their lawyers, particularly Femi Falana, apparently with the aim of pushing the sureties to disown the detained activists, and Mr Falana to withdraw from the suit. However, under Nigerian law, the SSS does not have any power to vet sureties.”

“Also, a group of apparently sponsored ‘protesters’ calling itself ‘Save Nigeria Movement’, asked Femi Falana to ‘stop intimidating security agencies.’ The group recently held a rally in Abuja to say ‘enough is enough’ to Femi Falana. The group held up banners conveying their remonstrances such as—’Falana stop blackmailing Nigerian military’ and ‘Falana enough is enough’.”

SERAP, therefore, urged Mrs. Maiga and the commission’s members to urgently put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to: Stop apparently targeted harassment and intimidation of Sowore, Bakare, their sureties and lawyers particularly Femi Falana, and those working closely with them;

Take measures to protect sureties and lawyers so that they can perform their duties without intimidation, harassment. or improper interference;

Immediately release Sowore and Bakare as ordered by the court;

Promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate the allegations of harassment and intimidation of detained activists, their sureties and lawyers and to identify and bring to justice those suspected to be involved;

Take prompt and effective measures to ensure the safety and independence of Femi Falana and members of his legal team.

Sowore, Bakare Sue DSS, Demand N1bn Compensation

Omoyele-Sowore-Olawale-Bakare-Femi-Falana

 

Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-detainee, Olawale Bakare, have each filed a suit of N500million before the Federal High Court in Abuja against the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

Following their continued detention in DSS custody, both men are seeking N500m in damages.

They sought the award of a total sum of N1bn “as general and aggravated damages” for the “illegal violation of their fundamental rights” to life, dignity of their person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association.

According to the suits, the arrest and physical assault of the duo by operatives of the DSS in Lagos and Osogbo on August 2 and 5, as well as their continued illegal detention by the security agency, constituted a violation of their rights.

READ ALSO: Another Disgraceful Justification By SSS For Detaining Sowore – Falana

They alleged that the two respondents; the DSS DG and the AGF violated their various rights guaranteed under sections 35, 36 and 37 of the Nigerian Constitution and Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Their separate suits were filed on their behalf by their team of lawyers led by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN).

Sowore, in the suit, accused the respondents of violating his rights by their refusal to release him, despite meeting the conditions attached to the bail granted him.

He also accused the DSS of assaulting him when its personnel came to arrest him in Lagos.

Sowore argued that the DSS’s failure to disclose the offense he allegedly committed and why he was arrested violated his rights.

He, therefore, prays the court to award N500million damages in his favour, against the respondents as compensation for the violation of his rights.

 

Another Disgraceful Justification By SSS For Detaining Sowore – Falana

 

Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has criticised the Department of State Services for a statement adduced by the SSS regarding why Mr Omoyele Sowore is yet to be released. 

In a communique on Tuesday, Falana said the actions of the service regarding the case of Sowore is denting the image of the nation.

He narrated how he was in Abuja to participate in a public forum on “Digital Voting in Nigeria, adding that before the end of the programme, he asked one of his colleagues in chambers, Mr Abubakar Marshal to book an appointment for him to visit his clients, Messrs Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare in the illegal custody of the SSS.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) further stated that at the end of the event, Mr Abubakar informed him that the SSS had fixed the appointment for 10am on Wednesday. However, Mr Falana said that at about 9.30am this morning the SSS called to inform him that the appointment had been shifted to 2pm.

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

The rights activist said he was driving to the office of the SSS at noon when his attention was drawn to another reason adduced by the Service for disobeying the order of the Federal High Court for the release of his clients.

He said, “In a very disgraceful statement the sss claimed that Sowore could be knocked down by a moving vehicle if released from illegal custody.

“Even though the diversionary press conference was deliberately designed to blackmail me I discountenanced and proceeded to honour the appointment.

“Thus, in a brief meeting with our clients, I informed them that upon the verification of their sureties the federal high court had ordered their release from custody,”.

Falana went on to say that in order to arm his clients to press for their rights, he gave them a certified true copy of the court order for their release which had been served on the SSS management.

He further stated that his clients debunked the claim of Dr. Afunanya that they have been given access to the telephone and other facilities.

According to the Senior Advocate’s communique, he advised the management to restrain Dr. Peter Afunanya from further exposing the country to avoidable ridicule in his desperate bid to justify the illegal detention of our our clients.

In view of the claim of the SSS that Mr. Sowore could be knocked down by a moving vehicle if left alone, Falana offered to drive him out of the headquarters of the SSS. But his request was turned down.

Falana accused the SS of playing to the gallery in a rather puerile manner.

He said he finds it difficult to believe that the Director General of the sss, Mr. Mogaji is aware of the highly misleading claim of Dr. Afunanya that he had not put a call through to him.

Falana further stressed that since he has evidence of his several text messages and telephone calls that were ignored by Mr. Mogaji, he has decided to report the misconduct of Dr. Afunanya to the appropriate agency of the Federal Government for giving false information to members of the public.

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.

We Are Not Detaining Dasuki, El-Zakzaky In Defiance Of Court Orders – DSS

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has said that it is not detaining certain prominent Nigerians in defiance of court injunctions. 

This is following outcries about the alleged disobedience to Court Orders and illegal detention of some notable persons (particularly Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky) who are undergoing trials at the Courts.

In reaction to the claims, the DSS said the duo had appealed to the Courts to be left in the custody of the Service instead of being taken to the Correctional Centres.

According to a communique from the Service, many of those who are within the DSS custody opted to remain there on their own volition, including El-Zakzaky who “opted to be returned to the custody of the Service even as the Court had granted him leave to seek medical care in India”.

READ ALSO: NECO Dismisses 70 Staff For Certificate Forgery

The DSS says it has continued to extend the best courtesies to the personalities since their stay in the Service’s custody.

“They are allowed access to people and use of other facilities like telephones, gymnasium, TV, newspapers and medical facilities.

“Among others, their families and trusted persons bring them food of their choices on a daily basis. There could not have been better treatments than these.

“Against the wrong perception that the Service held these persons in defiance to Court Orders, it is obvious, by the above explanations, that they rather chose to be looked after by the DSS. The reason for such a choice is not farfetched. It is simply because the Service’s holding facilities are good and within acceptable international standards.

“It is not in the character of the DSS to join issues with persons or groups. Yet, silence should not be golden at a time like this. For its compliance with democratic norms, the Service owes the Nigerian public a duty to explain some of its activities. This is more so that these are oftentimes grossly misunderstood or misrepresented,” the DSS communique read in part.

The Service restated its commitment to a strong partnership with the media and other stakeholders including opinion leaders, stating that it is not averse to criticisms and therefore welcomes constructive engagement from all and sundry.

The DSS further stated that it will continue to conduct its operations within the bounds of the law and importantly be guided by that time tested axiom of Usman Dan Fodio that conscience is an open wound and only the truth can heal it.

Appropriate People Haven’t Come For Sowore, DSS Insists Despite Falana’s Statement

 

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has insisted that it is ready to release the convener of RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore, but the appropriate persons have not turned up to get him.

“For emphasis, the Service reiterates its avowed readiness to release SOWORE once the processes are concluded. It maintains that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of SOWORE,” the DSS said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Peter Afunanya, on Wednesday, five days after it confirmed receipt of the order of the Federal High Court granting Sowore bail.

It added, “It is only appropriate that those who stood surety for SOWORE present themselves and have him released to them.”

The continued detention of Sowore, days after his lawyers announced that he has met his bail conditions have led to disagreements between the agency and his legal team, supporters, activists and groups such as SERAP.

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

One area of disagreement is the claim by the DSS last week that no one has showed up to get Sowore, a position disputed by his lawyers, led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights activist, Femi Falana.

Falana in a statement on November 9 described the DSS’ position as totally misleading, stressing that lawyers from Sowore’s defense team waited for over four hours at the agency’s headquarters for his release but that did not happen.

But the DSS argued in its statement on Wednesday that those who have so far shown up are not directly concerned with the matter and, therefore, unqualified.

Commenting further on the reactions to the continued detention of Sowore, the DSS said, “In the last few days, the Service has continued to witness deliberate campaigns of calumny, threats and aspersions against it. It will not, for any reason, join issues with its mudslingers.”
It also accused Mr Falana of wrongly guiding Sowore.

“He is rather playing to the gallery and mobilizing miscreants to subvert the Service and other state authorities. He has excellent relationship with the DGSS. But in the circumstance, he has refused to reach out to him over the case like he had on previously related ones,” the DSS said.

The DSS spokesman, who called for calm, also said the agency would not waste a second to release Sowore if the proper processes are followed, adding Falana knows what needs to be done to get his client released.

Sowore’s continued detention led some Nigerians to stage a protest, at the DSS headquarters on Tuesday, demanding his release.

However, during the protest, security agents dispersed the crowd with tear gas and gunshots.

While reports from protesters and some media clips suggest that the security operatives shot at crowd, the agency denied the reports in its statement insisting its operatives did not open fire on “alleged protesters” who had “stormed” its facility.

“As a normal global security practice, the operatives stood in defence of their facility when some group of persons made unruly attempts to forcefully break into the place and effect the release of Omoloye Sowore.

“Despite serial and unwarranted provocations, the Service, as a professional and responsible Organisation, did not shoot at the so-called protesters. It could not have done so,” the DSS stated.

Court Adjourns Sowore’s Trial

 

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court has adjourned the trial of Omoyele 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.

READ ALSO: Photos: Omoyele Sowore’s Trial Begins At Federal High Court

This is in addition to what he terms a strange application to shield witnesses in the matter without a prior notification of the defense team.

The prosecutor, Hassan Liman disagrees as he blames the situation on the defense team, accusing them of stalling the trial.

Mr Liman also denies plans to ambush the defense team or engage in any form of secret trial.

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

 

The Lawyer representing the detained convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, says 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.

Mr Femi Falana, who is their lawyer, says the defendants would be freed any moment from now.

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Sowore’s Trial

He disclosed this while asking for an adjournment of the case on the grounds that the Department of State Service in whose custody the defendants have been detained and from where they were produced in court on Wednesday have continually denied them access to the defendants.

Mr Sowore whose trial has been adjourned to the 5th and 6th of December, 2019 is accused of treasonable felony