FORMER presidential candidate and Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore has been sent back into detention pending the hearing of a fresh bail application on Friday despite an earlier court order instructing the Department of State Security (DSS) to release him.
On September 24, Mr Sowore was granted bail by a federal high court in Abuja which ruled that he should be set free upon the surrendering of his international passport. In August, the (DSS), picked up Mr Sowore in Lagos as he was planning to organise a series of nationwide demonstrations under the banner #RevolutionNow but he challenged his arrest in court and was granted bail by a federal high court in Abuja.
Despite the court order that Mr Sowore be released over a week ago, the government has refused to grant him bail and the DSS has filed fresh charges against him as a way of getting around the court ruling. Today, the DSS produced Mr Sowore in court as the hearing began filing fresh seven counts including one of treasonable felony against him.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu heard the application of both sides and fixed Friday for the hearing of the bail application. Until then, Mr Sowore, who was defiant in court, acknowledging cheers from his teaming supporters, will remain in the custody of DSS along with his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
Both of them pleaded not guilty to the seven counts when read to them and requested bail but the judge said since the bail granted to Mr Sowore earlier was not predicated on the charges on which he was arraigned today, a fresh bail had to be granted. According to the judge, she would have to grant them fresh bail based on formal written bail application and not oral evidence.
Their application is to be served on the lead prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman, who indicated that he was going to oppose the application. Sowore’s lawyer Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, had argued that the court should protect its integrity by refusing to allow the arraignment to proceed when the prosecution continued to disobey the court order made on September 24, 2019 for the release.
Among the fresh charges the DSS has brought against Mr Sowore and Mr Bakare include treason, money laundering and cyberstalking President Muhammadu Buhari. Mr Liman asked the court to dismiss the objections of the defence, saying that what was more important was that the defendants had been served with the charges.