The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed Dec. 23, to rule on a suit filed by Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow, to demand his unconditional release from the Department of State Service (DSS)’s detention.
Sowore, in a motion ex-parte number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1409/19, filed by his lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, before Justice Inyang Ekwo, demanded for unconditional release in pursuance of the release order made by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on Nov. 6.
After Justice Ojukwu had fixed Feb. 11, 2020, as next adjourned date, operatives of the DSS rearrested Sowore shortly after a court proceeding at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Dec. 6, barely 24 hours of releasing him and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, from custody.
Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, had, on Dec. 13, announced his take over of the prosecution of Sowore in the charge of treasonable felony levied against him.
While Sowore is the applicant in the suit, the Director-General of State Security Service and the AGF are 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
However, Marshal Abubakar, who represented Falana, on Tuesday, sought “an order for the production of the applicant for unconditional release in pursuance of the release order made by this Honourable Court on the 6th November, 2019.
“ANY OTHER ORDER (S) this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance (s) of this case.” Abubakar said the continued detention of the applicant regardless of the release order made by the court on Nov. 6 was “unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.”
He said such action violated “his fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 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 reminded that Sowore was arrested in Lagos on the Aug. 2 without a warrant of arrest and was detained from the said date till Aug. 7 without a court order in violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed by the constitution.
“On Sept. 21, this Honourable Court per Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo made an order mandating the respondents herein to release the applicant forthwith. “On Sept. 21, charges were filed against the applicant by the 2nd respondent herein and this Honourable Court per Honourable Justice ijeoma Ojukwu made an order for the release of the applicant upon meeting the conditions of bail.
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“The respondents herein have neglected, refused and or failed to comply with the said release orders,” he told the court. Justice Ekwo, who said it would be unfair to deliver ruling on the matter without hearing from the other parties.
The judge, who adjourned the hearing on the case until Dec. 23, ordered the applicant to put the respondents on notice..
The judge said: “And upon the court having taking notice that the 1st respondent has joined issues with the Applicants on the substantive application and that the 1st & 2nd respondents are not represented in court.
“It is hereby ordered as follows: an order is hereby made that the Deputy Chief Registrar (Litigation) of this court to bring this case and the next date of Hearing to the notice and attention of the 1st & 2nd defendants.
“An order is hereby made remitting this file to the Hon. Chief Judge for assignment of this case to vacation Judge for Hearing on the next date of hearing within the vacation forthwith. “Case adjourned until Dec. 23, for hearing of the substantive application.”