A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the application of the Nigerian government through its prosecutors to revoke the bail of human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, who is being tried on trumped-up charges for leading the #RevolutionNow agitation.
The Nigerian government had moved to revoke Sowore’s bail and to remand him in prison – an application which the judge turned town.
The Federal High Court has been hearing the #RevolutionNow case since operatives of the Department of State Service on August 5, 2019, arrested and kept Sowore incommunicado for several days.
At the resumed sitting on Thursday, the judge dismissed the application to revoke his bail because Sowore showed up in court. She ruled that a fine of N100,000 must be paid to the prosecution because one of the members of the defence counsel did not show up.
The judge thereafter adjourned the case to April 28 and 29, 2021, after ruling that another N50,000 be paid to the prosecution.
While addressing newsmen after the court session, Sowore said, “The Federal Government had rushed to court to apply for the revocation of our bail. The reason why they are doing that is because they don’t have a real case against us. They are looking for different ways through which they can return us to prison. That is also the reason why they arrested us on January 1, 2021, and kept us for 11 days in different prisons across Abuja.
“This is desperation on the part of the Federal Government. They have kept me in Abuja for over a year and they have plans again to jail me. They have presented only one witness in this case in one year and a half years. This shows they have no case.”
A prosecution witness, an operative of the Department of State Services, Rasheed Olawale, who was brought to court at the last adjournment date to testify against Sowore had, however, claimed that he was in secondary school when he heard that President Muhammadu Buhari overthrew a democratically elected government of late Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1983 – the only revolution he knew about.
He also told the court that there was no record of a revolution in any part of the country on August 5, 2019, something the Sowore was accused of instigating and subsequently arrested for.
He had disclosed these during a cross-examination by the defence counsel, Femi Falana, at the resumed hearing of the case.
The DSS witness and also an operative had noted that there was no record of any revolution in any part of the country on the said date.
Olawale had told the court that he was part of the team which arrested Sowore on August 3, in Lagos State for allegedly planning a revolution protest to overthrow President Buhari.
He also told the court that intelligence reports at their disposal revealed that Sowore was planning a revolution protest on August 5, 2019, but there was no violence or revolution on the said date.
Falana had also asked the witness if he was aware that President Buhari led a coup to overthrow a democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari in 1983. The witness said he heard about it as a teenager during his secondary school days.
He had also asked if he was aware that President Buhari had in 2011 called for a revolution but the witness said he could not recall and he was not aware.
When asked if he was aware that those who participated in the protest in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Cross Rivers states were charged for unlawful assembly at a Federal High Court in Lagos and had since been discharged and acquitted, Olawale again denied the knowledge.
At the end of the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, the court had admitted his statement as evidence and marked as Exhibit 1.