The Nigerian government is perfecting its plan to revoke the bail of human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and jail him on trumped-up charges at a court sitting in Abuja for leading the #RevolutionNow agitation.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has been hearing the case since operatives of the Department of State Services on August 5, 2019, arrested and kept Sowore incommunicado for several days.
“#RevolutionNow. We are in the Federal High Court now after our lawyers applied for adjournment in writing. Surprisingly the court sat and the Federal Government rushed to ask the judge to revoke my bail; they are desperate to jail me the other way round, since they can’t prove their original case,” Sowore said on Thursday afternoon.
A prosecution witness, an operative of the Department of State Services, Rasheed Olawale, who was brought to court at the last adjournment date to testify against Sowore had, however, claimed that he was in secondary school when he heard that President Muhammadu Buhari overthrew a democratically elected government of late Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1983 – the only revolution he knew about.
He also told the court that there was no record of a revolution in any part of the country on August 5, 2019, something the Sowore was accused of instigating and subsequently arrested for.
He had disclosed these during a cross-examination by the defence counsel, Femi Falana, at the resumed hearing of the case.
The DSS witness and also an operative had noted that there was no record of any revolution in any part of the country on the said date.
Olawale had told the court that he was part of the team which arrested Sowore on August 3, in Lagos State for allegedly planning a revolution protest to overthrow President Buhari.
He also told the court that intelligence reports at their disposal revealed that Sowore was planning a revolution protest on August 5, 2019, but there was no violence or revolution on the said date.
Falana had also asked the witness if he was aware that President Buhari led a coup to overthrow a democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari in 1983. The witness said he heard about it as a teenager during his secondary school days.
He had also asked if he was aware that President Buhari had in 2011 called for a revolution but the witness said he could not recall and he was not aware.
When asked if he was aware that those who participated in the protest in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Cross Rivers states were charged for unlawful assembly at a Federal High Court in Lagos and had since been discharged and acquitted, Olawale again denied the knowledge.
At the end of the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, the court had admitted his statement as evidence and marked as Exhibit 1.
Meanwhile, ruling on the application filed by the prosecution counsel, Bagudu Sani, seeking protection of the witnesses, the trial judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, had held that only the defendants, legal representatives and accredited journalists be allowed inside the court room in the subsequent proceedings.
The judge had noted that the number of people in the court would not exceed 20 in line with the COVID-19 protocols and to ensure adequate social distancing.
The matter had been adjourned to January 25, February 4 and 5, 2021 by 1pm.
Saharareporters, New York