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Court slams DSS N100,000 fine, orders Sowore’s release in 24hrs

THE Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the Department of States Services (DSS) to pay N100,000 to the Convener of the ‘Revolution now’ protest, Omoyele Sowore and Bakare for failing to comply with the court’s order for their release.

The presiding  Judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu ruled that the defendants be released in the next 24 hours before the commencement of the hearing.

The court’s decision followed the failure of the DSS to release the defendants on bail one month after the bail application was granted by the court.

Prosecution Counsel, Hassan Liman argued that the DSS did not release the defendant’s because they failed to provide sureties.

Ojukwu opposed Liman’s statement reiterating that the provision of sureties was not part of her ruling in November.

Femi Falana, the defendant’s counsel filed for adjournment of the case because ‘it is not ripe for hearing’.

He noted that contrary to the court order, the prosecution provided the defendant’s a summarized statement of five witnesses against the court order that a full statement should be made available to the defence counsel.

Falana added ‘that in a bid to frustrate the case, the prosecution sent a bundle of document yesterday afternoon and seven video cassettes.

He added that he had contacted the legal department of DSS to facilitate a meeting with the defendants in order to conform them to the documents and video cassettes but the request was not granted up till the sitting.

In response to Falana’s claim, Liman argued that Section 379 subsection 1a of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) only stated that ‘Summary of witnesses’ among other things be provided to the defendants’ counsel.

“On the issue of calls and text messages, I will not join issues with my learned colleague so that our issue will not become the subject of discussion,” Liman said.

Liman added that the late arrival of the statements of the witnesses to the defendants was due to administrative hindrance.

However, Ojukwu said the prosecution is the reason the trial hearing of the defendants will not commence as slated for 5th December 2019.

The Judge adjourned the trial of the case to 6th December pending the time when she said the defendants must be granted bail.

At the end of the sitting, some old women in white robes were seen at the gate of the Federal High Court, protesting and wailing as they demand the release of Sowore.

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