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Court summons DSS, police over Sowore, others’ detention

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Sowore. Photo: YOUTUBE

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to appear before it on September 4 over Omoyele Sowore’s arrest and detention.

Sowore and other persons have been detained in connection with the August 5, 2019, RevolutionNow protest over Federal Government’s alleged attempts to destabilise the country.

In its ruling by Justice Nicholas Oweibo, the court said the DSS and IGP should appear before it to give reasons why it should not order them to immediately and unconditionally release Sowore and the protesters.

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This followed an ex parte application filed by Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, on behalf of himself and others, who participated in the ‘RevolutionNow’ protests.

Ogungbeje, who said he also participated in the protest but was not arrested, urged the court to declare police clampdown on the protesters and Sowore’s arrest by the DSS as unconstitutional and illegal.

He urged the court to make an order for the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested and detained.

Besides the DSS and the IGP, he joined the Federal Government as a respondent in the suit.

Giving reasons why the arrested persons should be released immediately and unconditionally, Ogungbeje said: “There has been a grave constitutional infraction committed by the respondents against the applicant and other persons, who engaged in a peaceful protest for good governance in Nigeria.”

He said he was deprived of his constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly and association, as well as the right to freedom of expression.

“By engaging in the peaceful protest, the applicant and other persons have not committed any offence known to law to warrant the treatment meted out to them by the respondents and their agents,” Ogungbeje said.

He, therefore, urged the court to order the immediate release of those arrested and detained, but rather than order the release of the detainees, Justice Oweibo said he needed to hear from the Federal Government, DSS and the IG.

He ordered Ogungbeje to notify the defendants and directed that they appear on September 4 to show cause why Sowore and others should not be released.


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