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Convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, presently in detention, on Friday, sought a Federal High Court, Abuja order to vacate the ex-parte order that granted the Department of State Service (DSS) the legal teeth to keep him in detention for 45 days.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo had, in a ruling on Thursday in an exparte application, ordered Sowore’s detention for the said period to enable the DSS carry out and conclude its investigation on allegations levied against him.
Sowore, who is the publisher of SaharaReporters and Presidential Candidate, African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 2019 general elections, was arrested in the early hours of August 4 by the operatives of the DSS in a hotel in Lagos.
He was moved to Abuja on August 4, 2019
The state agency said Sowore was arrested on account of the #RevolutionNow protest which he had spearheaded.
However, in a motion on notice, brought pursuant to sections 6 (6) (B), 35 and 36(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and under the jurisdiction of the court, Sowore is asking the court to vacate the order on the grounds that the order was made in violation of his full rights.
The motion filed on August 9, 2019 by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, was predicated on 18 grounds and supported by a 24-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Marshall Abubakar.
Part of the grounds are that, ”The said order breached the fundamental right provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Other groundscanvassed by Falana were that the motion ex-parte was predicated on suppression and misrepresentation of material facts; that it constitutes a gross abuse of the process of court.
The senior lawyer stressed that the motion exparte filed August 5, 2019 did not disclose any fact capable of linking Sowore to any terrorism activity.
He further argued that the order was based on a wrong presumption and mistake that the complaint against the respondent therein relates to terrorism.
Said he: “That by virtue of Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, an application for the remand of any suspect is to be made before a Magistrate Court”.
Falana disclosed that by virtue of the actions of the Federal government, Sowore’s right to life, dignity of human person, health and freedom of movement are under threat as same is currently being violated by the respondent without any justification known to law.
In the supporting affidavit, the deponent averred that the DSS had concluded investigation of the case and had announced its findings.
Said he: ”That this honorable court has the jurisdiction to set aside its own order made pursuant to an ex-parte application.
”That unless this Honorable court intervenes by ordering the Respondent to release the Applicants forthwith and pay them adequate compensation for their illegal detention, the Applicants will continue to languish in the Respondent’s custody without being charged to court”.
“And for such Order or other Orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit and proper to make in the circumstances”.
The DSS had on August 6, 2019 through an ex-parte application sought an order of court to detain Sowore for a period of 90 days to enable them conclude their investigation of alleged act of treason and terrorism.
Justice Taiwo said after consideration of the argument canvassed by the DSS’ Counsel, Godwin Agbadua, he came to the conclusion that there is an allegation of commission of crime by the respondent and that investigation is still on-going.
He added that “since the facts are allegations which must be proved at the appropriate place and time”, he was inclined, ” to grant the application only to the extent that the respondent shall be detained for a period of 45 days for the applicant to conclude its investigation”.
Justice Taiwo however said if at the end of the 45 days, investigation was yet to be concluded, the applicant can apply for a fresh order but must not keep him without an order of court.