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Published On: Fri, Dec 6th, 2019

DSS releases Sowore, pays him N100,000 fine -Falana

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

The State Security Service (SSS), also known as Department of State Service, on Thursday night released Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters.
Mr Sowore was arrested on August 3 for planning a series of protests to demand good governance.
Sowore first met his bail on November 6, one month ago, but he was not released.
Mr Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana, while confirming the development to the media yesterday, said the SSS also paid N100,000 fine to Mr Sowore as ordered by the judge.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had yesterday, ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to release convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore and his co- accused, Olawale Bakare, within 24 hrs.
The Judge held that DSS should make the evidence of Sowore’s release available to the court for confirmation.
The court subsequently awarded a cost of N100,000 against the Prosecution, adding that trial would only go on upon payment of the N100,000 fine.
Sowore, the publisher of Sahara reporter and his co-defendant are facing a seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, money laundering and cybercrimes amongst others.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail on October 4, in the sum of N100m and N50m respectively with two sureties in like sum.
One of the conditions for Sowere’s release was that one of his sureties must deposit N50m cash as security for the bail.
However, the court had two weeks later varied the bail conditions following a request to that effect.
Justice Ojukwu had signed the release of the bail of the defenfants after they met the bail conditions.
But the DSS had refused to release the defendants even after evidence that they have met the conditions attached to the bail.
At the resumed hearing on the matter, Thursday, Justice Ojukwu expressed displeasure on the DSS refusal to obeyed the court to release the dependent.
Counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana SAN had complained to the court that its order as regards release of documents and the defendants who have been granted bail and have met the attached conditions has not been complied with by the prosecution.
Falana, who told Justice Ojukwu that one month after the court ordered service of documents to be tendered on the defence, the prosecution only served the defence the documents yesterday and hence would be needing time to study the documents as well as watch the attached videos with the defendants.
He also prayed the court to direct the prosecution to serve the full statements of all listed witnesses instead of a summary statement to aid their defence.
The defendants lawyer further told the court that he was having difficulty gaining access to his client who is still in custody of the prosecution despite meeting his bail conditions.
At this instant, Justice Ojukwu called on the prosecution counsel to explain why Sowore and Bakare were still in their custody.
Responding, prosecution counsel, Hassan Liman SAN, admitted that the order was served on the prosecution but the defendants were yet to be released because the DSS had asked their sureties to come for identification.
Interjecting, Justice Ojukwu asked the prosecution counsel whether that request was part of the Court’s order.
“Is that part of the order, is there a parallel court here, who is directing that? Is there another court elsewhere? The court queried.
Justice Ojukwu expressed pain that the DSS could flout her orders even after she took time to ensure that the bail conditions were met.
In a short ruling, the judge ordered that the defendants be released within the next 24 hours and adjourned to Friday November 6 for report of compliance.
On the request for adjournment by Sowore’s lawyer for time to study the documents and videos tendered as evidence against Sowore, Justice Ojukwu held that because the adjournment was created by the prosecution she was inclined to award cost against the prosecution.
She recalled that while adjourning the matter on November, she had ordered that the prosecution serves all necessary documents it intends to tender on the defence before the commencement of trial on Thursday.
The DSS had on August 3, 2019 arrested Sowore in Lagos, for calling for a revolution through a protest scheduled to hold on August 5, while Bakare was arrested in Osogbo on October 5.
Since their arrest they have remained in the custody of the DSS.

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