DSS succumbs, releases Sowore after court’s 24-hour ultimatum
The Department of State Security Service (DSS) yesterday released the publisher of Sahara Reporters and convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore, three months after his abduction by the agency.
Sowore’s freedom followed a 24-hour ultimatum by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordering his release. She had also awarded a N100,000 cost against the prosecution, which should be paid to the defendant before commencement of trial.
Ojukwu gave the ruling following failure of the prosecution to comply with orders requesting Sowore’s release and for late service of documents to the defense counsel, which affected commencement of trial.She equally expressed dissatisfaction with DSS refusal to grant the defense counsel access to his clients prior to sitting.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Sowore for alleged treasonable felony alongside Olawale Bakare.At the resumed sitting, counsel to the prosecution, Hassan Liman (SAN) told the court that some documents containing the summary statement of witnesses and CDs containing activities of the defendants have been served on the defense lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).
But Falana told the court that he was served on Wednesday in spite of court order requesting that he be served after the November 6, 2019 adjourned date.He also told the court that rather than the summary of the statement, the law provides that the full statement of the witnesses be served on them. With these lapses, he told the court that he was not ready for trial and consequently would want an adjournment to enable him prepare.
“In a bid to frustrate the commencement of trial, the prosecution served us with this bundle of documents only on Wednesday afternoon. We were also served with seven videocassettes.
“Notwithstanding that time is not our side; we contacted the legal department of DSS to facilitate our meeting with our clients in order to confront them with the documents served on us and to play the videocassettes and watch them together with our clients, but the request was not granted up till now,” Falana said.