There was a mild drama at the court 7, Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, as armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) moved to rearrest the convener of the #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, at the court premises.
The drama started shortly after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the trial till February 11, 12 and 13 for definite hearing.
Justice Ojukwu had on Thursday ordered the DSS to release Sowore and Bakare within 24 hours.
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 Lawyer, Hassan Listen (SAN), told the court that the secret police 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 February 11, 12 and 13 to enable the parties respond to applications filed.
Also, speaking, the counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana (SAN), confirmed that his clients were released to him on Thursday evening.
He said: “My Lord, at about 5:00 p.m. 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.”
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 held.
“It is obvious that the DSS has demonstrated their commitment to rule of law.
She said “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 the case till February 11, 12 and 13 for definite hearing.
The court registrar then called the next case for hearing and as everyone began to move out of the court premises, some officers of the DSS, numbering about 15, who had laid ambush for the defendants, started making their way towards Sowore and Bakare.
There was a stampede as the officers cocked their guns to scare people away.
Sowore and Bakare, however, resisted being rearrested.
They ran back into the court premises as the action resulted in a commotion.
Justice Ojukwu quickly retired into her chamber.
Having overpowered, his supporters, and chased away the judge and lawyers present in court, operatives of the secret police succeeded in rearresting Sowore, and his co defendant.
They were driven away in a convoy of unmarked vehicles, ostensibly to the DSS headquarters were they were initially being held in custody.
Happening now at the federal high Court Abuja. DSS want to re-arrest Sowore. We will never give in to Tyranny pic.twitter.com/DJrGay3xHr
— Towolawi Jamiu (@jharmo) December 6, 2019
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) December 6, 2019
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