Sowore Files Contempt Suit Against DSS

Sowore Files Contempt Suit Against DSS

Convener of #RevolutionNow Protest and Presidential Candidate, Mr Omoyele Sowore, has filed a contempt suit against the Director-General, Department of State Security Service (DSS), Mr Yusuf Bichi, for allegedly disobeying a court order granting him bail. The legal team of Mr. Sowore led by Mr. Femi Falana also filed an affidavit of compliance with the

Convener of #RevolutionNow Protest and Presidential Candidate, Mr Omoyele Sowore, has filed a contempt suit against the Director-General, Department of State Security Service (DSS), Mr Yusuf Bichi, for allegedly disobeying a court order granting him bail.

The legal team of Mr. Sowore led by Mr. Femi Falana also filed an affidavit of compliance with the order of the court and had the same served on the DSS.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High court in Abuja had on Tuesday granted bail to Mr. Sowore, who was arrested and detained by the DSS since August 3, 2019, on the allegation of calling for a “revolution” through the protest that was scheduled for August 5.

Ruling on the bail application filed by Mr. Sowore, the judge had dismissed the DSS’ objection in granting him bail with the sole condition that he deposits his passport in the registry of the court, a condition which has been fulfilled since Wednesday, September 25, 2019.

In the bid to enforce the release order, the detained politician and publisher, who had spent over 50 days in the custody of the SSS filed form 48 against the SSS boss seeking his committal to jail unless he gives effect to the order of the court.

The form 48 otherwise known as contempt of court was filed at the Federal High Court pursuant to order ix, rule 1-3 of the judgment enforcement rules, section 72 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act 2004 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Titled, Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court’, the DSS boss in the contempt notice form was warned that unless he obeys the order of the Federal High Court delivered on September 24, ordering him to release Sowore in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/915/2019, he will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.

The contempt form notice further indicated that the court has been informed that as at today, September 26, the DG SSS was yet to comply with the lawful order by refusing to release Sowore from its custody.

The notice read in part: “Take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in the order of the Federal High Court of Justice, Abuja, delivered on September 24, 2019, which ordered you to release the applicant in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/915/2019 forthwith, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison”.

“A copy of the said order of court earlier served on you is hereby annexed for your on-the-spot reference.

“This court has been informed that even as at today Thursday, September 26, 2019, you are yet to comply with the lawful order of the Federal High Court by refusing to release the applicant namely, Omoyele Sowore in your custody.

“You are hereby directed to comply with the court order forthwith or you will be guilty of contempt of court”.

The notice had been served on the DSS boss at the three-arm zone in Abuja after all the necessary conditions have been fulfilled.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on Tuesday, September 24 ordered the immediate release of Sowore from SSS custody following the expiration of order of the court that Sowore should be detained for 45 days only.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, the eve to a planned protest he championed against some alleged bad policies of the government and the general bad governance in the country.

While the Federal Government charged him to court on September 20, for conspiracy to commit treason, insulting the President and money laundering.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria had earlier reacted to the claim of the DSS that the order of the Federal High Court for Sowore’s release has not been served on the organisation.

Falana countered that the certified true copy of the order was received and acknowledged by Mr. Ayuba Adam of the Legal Department of the SSS on 24 September 2019. The senior lawyer, who is also a leading human rights advocate threatened to pursue contempt proceedings filed on Thursday against the Director-general of the DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi for disobeying a lawful order of the court.

”We are compelled to advise the Director-General of the SSS to comply with the valid and subsisting order of the federal high court for Mr. Sowore’s release forthwith. Otherwise, we are going to pursue the contempt proceedings initiated this morning to a logical conclusion”, Falana said in a press statement.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I also sent the copy of the order to the Director-General of the State Security Service via whatsApp. Assuming without conceding that we did not serve the order, was the security agency not briefed by its lawyer who had strenuously opposed the application for Mr. Sowore’s release on the nebulous ground of national security?”

“Even though the Honourable Justice Taiwo had rejected the submissions of the SSS Counsel and ordered Mr. Sowore’s release from illegal custody since the detention order had expired the SSS has continued to detain our client without any legal justification.

“I have visited the headquarters of the SSS at Abuja daily for the past three days since the Court has ordered that Mr. Sowore be released to me. But on each occasion I was advised to exercise patience as the DG of the SSS was holding meetings with his staff.

“However, we are compelled to advise the Director-General of the SSS to comply with the valid and subsisting order of the Federal High Court for Mr. Sowore’s release forthwith. Otherwise, we are going to pursue the contempt proceedings initiated this morning to a logical conclusion.

“We are no longer going to accept a situation whereby a government which claims loudly to operate under the rule will disobey court orders with brazen impunity.

“Kindly find attached a copy of the order received and signed for on 24th September, 2019 by Mr. Ayuba Umar and the affidavit of compliance confirming that Mr. Sowore’s passport had been deposited with the Registrar of the Court in line with the order of the Honourable Justice Taiwo, “ he said.

In a related development, the Police on Wednesday arraigned another human rights activist, Mr Agba Jalingo at the Federal High Court in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, after keeping him in detention for 34 days.

Jalingo, an ally of Sowore, is a journalist and publisher of an online news site, CrossRiverWatch.

The journalist was reportedly picked up at his Lagos home on August 22 by security operatives from Cross River State Police Command and conveyed to Calabar, where he was detained for days without trial.

The Police charged him with alleged terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State government.

There was widespread condemnation of the charges when they were leaked to the public before the arraignment.

Jalingo pleaded not guilty to the four charges preferred against him.

Justice Simon Amobeda, who presided over the court, remanded the accused in prison when the application for his bail could not be considered.

The judge held that the counter-affidavit the prosecution filed in response to the motion for bail by the defendant’s counsel was added to the file.

He said there was no time to look at it.

Justice Amobeda also said he perused the file on Tuesday night and did not see the counter-affidavit.

The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Denis Terhemba, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), claimed the counter-affidavit was filed on September 18, but Jalingo’s counsel, Mr Attah Ochinke said he was served before the court began sitting.

But after a brief discussion with the Clerk of the court, who whispered a few words to him, Justice Amobeda ruled that Jalingo be remanded in Afokang Prisons in Calabar.

He adjourned the matter till today.

Responding to the ruling, Ochinke said: “We had an application for him to be granted bail, but because of the reaction, the counter-affidavit was only brought to the attention of the court today (Wednesday, September 25). The court graciously granted us to come back tomorrow (Thursday, September 26) for the argument on the application for bail. We hope that by tomorrow, the court will give a considered opinion on it and Agba will be admitted to bail.”

The lawyer, who described the charges preferred against Jalingo as “sensational”, added: “We have looked at the proof of evidence and we know that they have no basis. We are ready to stand trial.”

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos