Judge withdraws from suit seeking Sowore’s release over publications by Sahara Reporters
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja Monday withdrew from a suit seeking the release of the #RevolutionNow protests convener, Omoyele Sowore, the Department of State Service’s custody.
Mohammed said he could not hear or declare judgment on Sowore’s case filed on December 10. He explained that it was the fair, just and proper thing to do in view of the previous publications by Sowore’s medium, Sahara Reporters.
Sahara Reporter has accused the judge of taking bribe to influence the outcome of the trial of a former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam.
Susman is currently prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before another judge of the court, Justice Okon Abang.
Mohammed said that the reports by Sahara Reporters in 2016 and 2019 made him to withdraw from the former governor’s trial.
He stated that the first report was published in 2016 and he was prevailed upon by the prosecution and defence teams to continue with the case.
The judge said on continuing with the case, a similar report was published in June 2019 which made him withdraw from the case.
He noted the reports put him in a situation whereby if he ruled in favour of Sowore, it could be perceived as having been blackmailed by Sowore to so rule and that in the event that he ruled against the publisher, he could be perceived as being vengeful.
Mohammed, therefore, ordered that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, for reassignment to another judge.
Operatives of the Department of Security Service (DSS) arrested Sowore 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 on Thursday, December 5 and rearrested Friday, December 6 with no court order to do so.