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Delaying Sowore, Dasuki’s release, not disobedience to rule of law – Presidency

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The Nigerian government has refuted claims that it has compromised the rule of law by delaying the release of Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore and former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki months and years after court orders.

“The government is not compromising anything,” Presidential media aide Garba Shehu said at an interview on Channels Television programme, Politics Today.

“The decision to keep them there (in detention) was strongly founded in the law.”

Sowore and Dasuki were separately held in detention by the Nigerian government’s Department of State Service (DSS) despite court orders granting them bail.

Dasuki, who served as national security adviser under former President Goodluck Jonathan, was in detention for over four years despite four court orders, including an ECOWAS court granting him bail.

Dasuki is being tried for alleged misappropriation arms funds while in government.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja in July 2019 declared that the continued detention of Dasuki by the DSS was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Sowore, on the other hand, was arrested by DSS operatives on Saturday, August 3 after calling for a nationwide protest tagged #RevolutionNow.

But the Nigerian government said Sowore was plotting to overthrow Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and charged him with treasonable felony, money laundering and terrorism.

After disobeying two court orders that granted Sowore bail within the first 124 days he spent in detention, the DSS released him on Thursday, December 5 and rearrested him on Friday, December 6 with no court order to do so.

Amidst calls and protest for their release and others in continued detention by Nigerians and the international community, the Nigerian Government on Tuesday ordered their release on Tuesday, December 24.

Despite their release, the Nigerian government still got knocks from some section of the country and opposition for not promptly obeying the court orders.

But, Shehu posited that the claims were incorrect, saying that the government has done nothing extra-judicial in holding them in detention.

“In a situation where the fundamental right of an individual is a threat to that of the larger society, the right of the individuals have to be sacrificed,” Shehu said.

He said their eventual release was because the government “wants to set an important example of obedience to the law that even when you disagree with what the court says you should do.”


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