Sowore arraigned before Fed High Court Abuja, sent back to detention

  • Omoyele Sowore

Convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, has been arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of treasonable felony and other sundry offences instituted against him by the Federal Government.

He was brought to court by the DSS from its detention facility.

The DSS had, on August 3, 2019, arrested Sowore for calling for a revolution through a protest scheduled to hold on August 5.

This is the first time Sowore has appeared in court and any public place since he was arrested.

Sowore was brought to the court at 9:15 a.m. on Monday just before the judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, entered the court room.

He was arrested on August 3 for planning the #RevolutionNow protest but was arraigned on September 20 by the government.

He has been in the custody of the State Security Service, despite meeting the terms of a bail condition granted him on September 24.

On Monday, his entrance about the same time as the judge’s resulted in a minor commotion, forcing the judge to return to the chambers as photo journalists struggled to get pictures of Mr Sowore.

Security officials at the court asked journalists to leave the court room for the trial, a directive resisted by the journalists present.

Many Nigerians and civic groups have condemned the continued incarceration of Sowore despite last week’s court order.

Meanwhile, the court has ordered the detention of Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, in the custody of the DSS

Justice Ojukwu ruled that the duo be further detained by the DSS, pending the hearing of their bail application on Friday.

Sowore was arraigned on a seven-count charge boarding on treasonable felony, cyber-stalking and transfer of illicit funds.

He pleaded not guilty to the seven counts when read to him.

Defence lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, urged the court to allow Sowore to continue on terms of the bail earlier granted him by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on September 24.

The defence lawyer also pleaded that the second defendant be granted fresh bail.

But the judge said the bail earlier granted Sowore was not predicated on the charges on which he was arraigned on Monday, stating that a fresh bail had to be granted to him.

Justice Ojukwu added that if she would have to grant them fresh bails, they had to be based on formal bail application and not oral application.

She directed them to file formal bail application and she subsequently adjourned hearing till Friday.

Sowore was arrested by the DSS Saturday, August 3, for planning a nationwide protest tagged #RevolutionNow.

The Nigerian government filed additional charges against Sowore on Friday, September 20, a day before the completion of the initial 45 days the court allowed the DSS to keep him in custody.

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