We did not order rearrest of Sowore – FG

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Sunday denied ordering the rearrest of Mr Omoyele Sowore, on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja. 

Sowore was rearrested by the Department of State Services less than 24 hours after he was released from 125 days of arbitrary detention. 

The DSS is under the direct control and supervision of the Presidency. 

In a statement on Sunday, spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, denied granting permission to the DSS to carry out the rearrest.

Shehu said, “The DSS does not necessarily need the permission of the Presidency in all cases to carry out its essential responsibilities that are laid down in the Nigerian constitution – which was the foundation for the restoration of democracy in our country in 1999.

“However, it should not surprise anyone who has followed his actions and words that Sowore is a person of interest to the DSS.”

Operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), on Friday, re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow Protest, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.

Sowore and Bakare had resisted being rearrested by the officers of the security outfit shortly after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the day’s proceeding till Feb. 11, Feb. 12 and Feb. 13, 2020 for definite hearing.

Justice Ojukwu had, on Thursday, ordered the DSS to release Sowore and Bakare within 24 hours after meeting his bail conditions.

Ojukwu, who gave the order, also awarded a N100, 000 fine against the DSS over its delay to serve the defence counsel with the additional proof of evidence in the ongoing trial despite the court’s order to the effect.

The DSS had, on Thursday, complied with the court order by releasing the defendants and also paid the fine.

At the Friday’s sitting, the DSS Counsel, Hassan Liman, SAN, told the court that the security agency had already complied with the order of the court.

He also hinted that based on the agreement between the parties, the matter be adjourned till Feb. 11, 12 and 13 to enable the parties respond to applications filed.

Also speaking, Counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana, SAN, confirmed that his clients were released to him on Thursday evening.

“My Lord, at about 5 o clock yesterday, I received a call from my respected colleague to send our lawyers to receive our clients.

“I am happy to tell you that our clients were released and the N100, 000 cost was also paid.

“On account of this, on behalf of our defendants, we wish to express our profound appreciation for your leadership and for standing up for integrity and for standing for the rule of law in Nigeria.

“I also thank my colleague for impressing it on their client to obey the court order.

“I hope my learned friend will allow the defendants to get their freedom notwithstanding the charges,” he told the court.

Justice Ojukwu, who commended the DSS for obeying the Court order, said everyone must be ready to allow the law to take its course irrespective of position one held.

“It is obvious that the DSS has demonstrated their commitment to rule of law.

“No one is above the law,” adding that those at realms of power must respect the rule of law.

“The DSS has earned the respect of Nigerians for this,” the judge said.

She then adjourned till Feb. 11, 12 and 13 for definite hearing.

But as everyone filed out of the courtroom, no fewer than 15 armed officers of the DSS, who had laid ambush for the defendants, made their way towards Sowore and Bakare.

There was a stampede as the officers cocked their guns scaring people away.

Sowore and Bakare, however, resisted being rearrested, running back into the courtroom.

The development led to the disruption of court sitting as the judge hurriedly retired to her chamber while the court workers, lawyers and journalists scampered for safety.

Amidst the commotion that pervaded the courtroom, the officers of the DSS stood their ground on rearresting the defendants.

Sowore, while speaking with the newsmen, in the courtroom, said the ploy of the security agency was to kill him.

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