Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the immediate release of the detained convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS)
Making the order on Tuesday, the judge said Sowore should be released to his counsel, Mr. Femi Falana, who would produce him whenever he is needed for trial.
Besides, the court said Sowore must deposit his international passport within 48 hours after his release.
Justice Taiwo said the law provides for the freedom of all Nigerians regardless of economic or political status.
“The order of court has expired. It has not been renewed and cannot be renewed in view of the motion ex-parte earlier withdrawn,” the judge said.
“The liberty of all Nigerians high or low, poor or rich is guaranteed by the constitution. It’s for this end that I’m of the view that the defendant ought to be released forthwith,” said the judge.
PMNews reports that the judge had earlier stood down the case after hearing arguments from legal teams of Sowore and the DSS.
Falana had argued that the order issued by the court on August 8, 2019 permitting the DSS to hold Sowore for 45 days, expired on September 21, and appealed to the court to issue a consequential order releasing his client.
But DSS lawyer, Mr. G.O Agbadua, countered saying since the charges had been filed against the activist on September 20, it was lawful to continue to keep him until arraignment.
“Filing of charges cannot metamorphose into a detention order. A citizen cannot detain a citizen in anticipation of arraignment,” Falana responded.
Agbadua had earlier withdrawn the DSS’ application asking for the extension of the period of the detention of Sowore for further 20 days.
His request for the withdrawal of the said application was based on the fact that charges had been preferred against the detainee.
Falana also withdrew Sowore’s application for bail on the grounds that the application had become academic since the order of detention had expired.