Falana debunks SSS claims, says it apologised for invading court
The leader of Nigeria’s secret police team that invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja to re-arrest a journalist, Omoyele Sowore, apologised to the judge whose courtroom was invaded, Sowore’s lawyer Femi Falana said on Sunday.
Falana in a statement said the State Security Service team lead apologised to Justice Ojukwu on behalf of the SSS when he was challenged to justify the invasion of the court the officer.
“The judge then directed the officer to withdraw the SSS operatives from the court room. The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the court room but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house,” Falana wrote.
The DSS had earlier denied invading the courtroom. The intelligence agency said the “drama” in the courtroom on Friday was “orchestrated” by Sowore himself.
“Its (DSS) personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident,” DSS spokesman Peter Afunanya said in a statement.
Afunanya said the court had adjourned peacefully without an untoward incident when suddenly the unruly crowd imported into the courtroom went into a frenzy on the mere suspicion that DSS officials were seen at the court premises.
Afunanya said, “the eventual re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS was effected outside the courtroom.”
However, Falana debunked Afunanya’s claims noting that the DSS statement is “self contradictory press release”. He said the DSS officials invaded the court premises causing the court to hurriedly end its activities.
“Having taken over the court room vi et armis Justice Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases,” Falana said.
“After the learned trial judge had risen for the day she summoned the heads of the prosecution and defence teams to her chambers,” he added.
Falana further said that some of the DSS operatives “disguised in lawyer’s black and white suit” to re-arrest him in the court.
Sowore has been in DSS detention for 124 days before his release on Thursday. He was arrested on Saturday, August 3 for calling for a nationwide protest tagged #RevolutionNow.
He was charged on offences of treasonable felony, money laundering, terrorism and plotting to overthrow Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.