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Release Sowore, Bakare And Stop Exposing Nigeria To Ridicule – Falana To DSS

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Human rights lawyer , Mr . Femi Falana ( SAN) , on Wednesday , charged the Department of State Services to immediately release the convener of #RevolutionNow protest , Mr . Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare.
He asked the agency to stop exposing Nigeria to ridicule with its ever-changing excuses for continuing to hold on to them in violation of the Federal High Court ’s order for their release.
Falana was replying the DSS’ latest statement issued by its spokesperson, Peter Ifunaya , on Wednesday , when the agency blamed the continued detention of the Sahara Reporters publisher and Bakare on the failure of their sureties to show up to receive them from custody .
The senior lawyer narrated the steps that his legal team had taken to ensure the release of their clients since a bailiff first attempted to serve the court’ s warrants for the release of the two men on the DSS on November 6, 2019 .
He explained that the agency ’s latest excuse that his clients ’ sureties were not available to receive them was baseless , as it was never part of the conditions of the bail granted them by the Federal High Court in Abuja .
He stated , “ Even when five of us were charged with treasonable felony in May 1992 , we were released after we had met the bail conditions.
“ On that occasion , the SSS never asked our sureties to report after they had been verified by the trial court . I demand for nothing less for my clients under the current political dispensation which ought to be anchored on the Rule of Law.
“ Finally , I confirm that I have an official relationship with the DG of SSS.
“ But since the commencement of the case of Sowore and Bakare the DG has refused to pick my calls while I have since become a persona non grata in the office of the SSS.
“ With respect to the baseless allegation that I am playing to the gallery by demanding for the release of my clients in line with the valid and subsisting order of a competent law court I shall take appropriate action under the law.
“ Meanwhile , the SSS should release our clients from illegal custody and should stop exposing the country to unwarranted ridicule . “
He noted that by imposing the condition that the sureties of the two men should be the ones to receive them from custody , the DSS had turned itself to an appellate court.
He warned that by further holding on to the two men in violation of the bail granted them by the Federal High Court, the DSS “ is aggravating the felony of contempt of court by asking sureties who had been verified by the trial court to report in its office for an illegal verification” .
He stated , “ On November 6, 2019 , the bailiff of the Federal High Court wanted to serve the order of the Federal High court for the immediate release of Messrs Omoyele Sowore and Adebayo Bakare on the State Security Service.
“ Under the pretext that the management had closed for the day the court bailiff was asked to serve the order at 10 am on November 7, 2019.
“ In the company with four members of the defence team the Court Bailiff served the order on November 7, 2019 .
“ After the four lawyers had waited in vain for hours the SSS asked them to go and that they would be contacted on phone to pick up the two detainees after consultations . But the SSS never contacted the lawyers .
“ To our utter dismay , the SSS issued an incendiary statement on November 8, 2019 wherein it was claimed that no one had shown up to receive both detainees.
“ Yesterday ( Tuesday ) two members of the defence team , family members and friends of both detainees reported at the headquarters of the SSS. Some journalists were also there to witness the release of both detainees.
“ Instead of releasing both detainees to their lawyers and family members the SSS fired teargassed and shot into the air . In the process, the lawyers , family members and friends of both detainees were physically attacked by masked security operatives.
“ Some of the journalists were seriously injured.
“ Having proved beyond any reasonable doubt that members of the defence team , family members and friends of the two detainees had reported in the headquarters of the SSS to receive them the story has now changed.
“ The SSS has now said that ‘it is only appropriate that those who stood surety for SOWORE present themselves and have him released to them’ .”
He expressed hope that the agency would release Bakare having shown by its statement that they had no axe to grind with him having invited his sureties to receive him .
He added, “ With respect to Mr . Sowore, we wish to state , without any fear of contradiction , that the SSS has apparently constituted itself into an appellate court over the federal high court .
“ For the avoidance of doubt , no condition is attached to the order of the federal high court for the release of both detainees.
“ Therefore , the SSS is aggravating the felony of contempt of court by asking sureties who had been verified by the trial court to report in its office for an illegal verification.
“ In view of the reckless insinuations of the SSS I am compelled to point out that my colleagues and I did not risk our lives for the purpose of substituting military dictatorship for civilian autocracy.
” It is pertinent to point out that suspects who were presumed innocent under the defunct military junta were not exposed to the crude intimidation that has become the lot of Sowore and Bakare .

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DSS: We Didn’t Arrest Sowore In Court — His Supporters Were Only Acting

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The Department of State Services (DSS) says its officers did not arrest Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement, in court, claiming that the journalist’s supporters were only acting an “orchestrated drama”.

A statement signed by Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesperson, the state secret police, said there were none of its officers involved in the incidents recorded in the courtroom.

“It has become important that the Department of State Services responds to the serial misinformation being circulated in the media about its involvement in the incident that occurred on 6th December, 2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja,” the statement read.

“It is instructive to note that during the court proceeding of the day under reference, Defence Counsel, Femi FALANA (SAN), called the attention of the Judge to a suspicion that the Service was planning to re-arrest Omoyele SOWORE immediately after the court session. The Court discountenanced his alarm and asserted that the Service was law abiding and would not engage in such and subsequently adjourned to February, 2020.

“However, when SOWORE stepped out of the court and sighted operatives of the Service within the premises, he ran back into the courtroom. In a bid to shield him from an imaginary arrest, his uncontrollable supporters mobbed him while chanting ‘you can’t arrest him’ thus the pandemonium that ensued.

“A critical look at the videos in circulation would convince any objective viewer that there was no DSS personnel during the entire period the Sowore crowd acted out its orchestrated drama. Its personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident.”

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I Was Not Beaten In Spain, IPOB Evil Plot Failed Woefully – Amaechi

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The minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has disputed the claim by the Indigenous People of Biafra that he was beaten in Madrid, Spain.

The former governor of Rivers State said the Spanish policemen protected him from the “misinformed miscreants”.

The spokesman of IPOB, Emma Powerful in a statement made available to Vanguard Friday stated the group beat the minister and that the action is in alliance with the order given by IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

In the statement made available to the media on Saturday, Amaechi denouncement reads in part;

“We must clarify that in the incident of the attack yesterday on the Minister in Madrid, where Amaechi was part of the official Nigerian government delegation to the United Nations (UN) climate change conference (COP25), IPOB members did not “beat”, physically assault or cause any bodily harm to the honourable Minister.”

The statement stated the IPOB members intention was to beat up the minister and inflict harms on him or worse but their evil plot was foiled, thanks to the timely intervention of the Spanish policemen.

“But their violent evil plot failed woefully due to the dexterity of Amaechi to resist them, protect and defend himself, and the prompt intervention of the Spanish police who repelled the motley crowd of misguided attackers. Even the video circulated online by the attackers confirmed this much.”

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(Full Text) NBA Reacts To DSS Court Invasion And Sowore’s Rearrest

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The Nigerian Bar Association has reacted to the Friday invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Services in an attempt to rearrest Mr. Omoyele Sowore, who had been released less that 12 hours before.

See the full statement:

DESECRATION AND ASSAULT ON THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT BY DSS: NBA URGES ALL NIGERIANS TO DEFEND THE RULE OF LAW

The Nigerian Bar Association is greatly dismayed at the exhibition of primitivity, thuggery, insane passion for lawlessness, contempt and disrespect for the rule of law by the agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) within the precints of the Federal High Court, Abuja while attempting to re-arrest Citizens Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare earlier today.

Eventually Sowore and Bakare were re-arrested by the DSS inspite of being on bail granted by the Federal High Court.

The NBA has been properly briefed – beyond the shameful videos of the incident in public domain- by our members who witnessed the disgraceful and crass violation of the hallowed precincts of the law by the officers of the Department of State Services, an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The NBA finds it disgraceful that this ‘court riot’ occasioned by the high handedness and insensitivity of the security operatives interrupted judicial proceedings and made the Presiding Judge to abandon judicial proceedings because of safety concerns.
The Nigerian Bar Association strongly condemns the action of the Department of State Security, which is another in the series of impunity and lawlessness exhibited by the DSS. The invasion of the court by the agency of the Gederal Government of Nigeria runs contrary to the avowed assurances of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that he will ensure that the Federal Government and agencies under it obeys court orders. The disrespect of the court by the DSS is legendary and unrivalled.

Few days ago, the officers of the Nigerian Police Force exhibited similar traits when it also invaded the precincts of the High Court, Effurun to arrest Mr. Ademi-Akpeto, Chairman of Sapele branch of the NBA. Many Nigerians are still in unlawful custody and not charged to court. Nigerians are now under siege by security agents who have no regards for the law and the courts.

The NBA urges all Nigerians to be alive to their responsibilities as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is ready to partner with all Nigerians and civil society organisations to ensure that the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended are not trampled upon by by any agency of government.

The NBA therefore, demands as follow:

1. That the Federal Government of Nigeria and the National Assembly immediately investigate the shameful conduct by the DSS and ensure that all persons found culpable are duly punished in accordance with the law.

2. The immediate suspension of the Director General of the Department of State Security from office. We make this demand bearing in mind the fact that the DSS under his leadership has established itself as a brutish and irresponsible agency that derives immense pleasure from violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and disrespecting court orders.

3. That the National Assembly should review the laws setting up the DSS and indeed all security agencies in Nigeria with a view to repositioning them to be more responsible and responsive to the public.

4. That the Attorney General of the Federation, being the Chief Law officer of the Federation takes over all the political cases or cases involving politically exposed persons presently handled by the DSS.

The above demands of the NBA is without prejudice to the consultations presently going on amongst critical stakeholders in the legal profession and the judiciary on how best to ensure that this sad incident does not re-occur.

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