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Malami directs SSS to release Sowore, Dasuki, says it has right to appeal bail orders


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NIGERIA’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, has instructed the State Security Services (SSS) to comply with court orders granting bail to Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore and former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.

Malami made this public through a statement on Tuesday, where he also advised the defendants not to breach public peace and national security. He pointed out that, by appealing, the SSS is entitled to challenge the decisions of the courts.

“The office of the honourable Attorney General of the Federation has reviewed the pending criminal charges against the duo of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Omoyele Sowore,” the statement read.

“Whilst the Federal High Court has exercised its discretion in granting bail to the Defendants in respect of the charges against them, I am also not unmindful of the right of the Complainant/Prosecution to appeal or further challenge the grant of bail by the court having regards to extant legal provisions, particularly Section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

“However, my office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts.

“In line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and in compliance with the bail granted to Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release.

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“The two defendants are enjoined to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land.”

The Attorney-General stress in the statement that his office has the utmost regard for the country’s judicial system.

“This administration remains unrelenting in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general,” he said.

According to Punch Newspaper, following the Minister’s instruction, “final documentation was being concluded for the release of the two men at the headquarters of the DSS in Abuja”.

On Friday, December 13, Malami had formally asked the SSS to transfer Sowore’s case file to him “as part of deliberate efforts to probe emerging issues related to the recent imbroglio related to Omoyele Sowore’s case and for speedy dispensation of justice”.

Nigeria’s constitution empowers Malami to take over any criminal proceedings instituted by some other government agency.

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“In exercising his powers under this section,” the law states, “the Attorney-General of the Federation shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.”

Sowore and Dasuki have been kept in detention by the SSS since August and 2015 respectively despite having been granted bail by the court on several occasions.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via aadebajo[email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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