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Court varies bail conditions for Sowore

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[FILES] Convener of “#Revolution Now” Omoyele Sowore arrives at the courtroom during his arraignment for charges against the government at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on September 30, 2019. – Nigeria’s high court ordered on September 30, 2019, a former presidential candidate remanded in custody after he was charged with plotting treason over calls for a “revolution” in the West African nation.†Omoyele Sowore, a fierce critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been held since August by the Department of State Services (DSS) secret police after urging protests under the online banner “#RevolutionNow”. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON / AFP)

The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, reviewed the bail conditions granted the detained convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, in the treasonable felony charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

The development followed an application by the activist praying the court to review his bail conditions due to his inability to fulfill them.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on October 4, 2019, admitted Sowore to bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum.

One of the sureties, according to judge, must deposit N50 million cash as security.

The two sureties must be resident in Abuja and show evidence of tax payment from 2014 to 2016.

Also admitted to bail in the sum of N50 million on October 4 was Sowore’s co-defendant, Olaleye Bakare, who was asked to produce one surety in the sum of N50 million and also show evidence of tax payment in the last three years.

Other conditions to the bail include that the defendants must not travel without the permission of the court.

In addition, Sowore was ordered not to participate in any form of protest pending the determination of the suit.

But Sowore’s lawyer described the conditions as stringent, leading to a fresh application for the court’s consideration and review.

Delivering ruling on the application yesterday, Justice Ojukwu granted Sowore’s request and consequently set aside the order directing one of the sureties to make a security deposit of N50 million.

The court equally reviewed the bail condition of Bakare downwards from the initial N50 million to N20 million. However, that of Sowore was not touched.

Yet, Ojukwu insisted that all previous conditions attached to the bail remain valid.

According to the court, the order restraining Sowore from participating in rallies and protests was not an infringement of his fundamental rights.

Earlier, Sowore’s lawyer, Chief Femi Falana (SAN), had informed the court that the motion was with respect to an aspect of the bail that required one of the sureties to deposit N50 million.

Falana cited the case of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) where the trial court imposed the same conditions, but the Court of Appeal upturned the condition, describing them as excessive.

He also referred to the ruling of Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who had ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to release Sowore to him, but which was not obeyed till date.

Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter till November 6 for commencement of trial.


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