Femi Falana, (SAN), human rights lawyer has berated the Department of State Service for feeding the public with its “self contradictory” statement after it team leader had earlier apologised to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for invading her court room.
Recalls that the DSS had stormed the Federal High Court on Friday to effect the arrest of detained publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele and activist, Olawale Bakare.
But the DSS had denied being in the courtroom, claiming that Sowore’s supporters were the ones acting an “orchestrated drama”, just as it said that the viral video of the incident did not show any of its officers.
Falana, in a statement on Sunday evening, said contrary to DSS statement issued on Saturday that Sowore’s arrest was “stage managed” by his supporters, the team leader of the DSS apologised to Justice Ojukwu when summoned to the judge on behalf of the DSS for the invasion of court 7.
According to Falana, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court.
The statement reads, “Our attention has been drawn to the self contradictory press release of the SSS in which an unsuccessful attempt was made to absolve itself of responsibility for the armed invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja.”
“And the desecration of Court No 7 of Hon. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in particular as well as the illegal rearrest of Omoyele Sowore. First, The DSS is pretending to forget that the abominable desecration of the Federal High Court was covered live by international media outfits.”
“Many journalists were also direct victims of the gangsterism, barbarism and brutalisation displayed by officers of the Service on the 6th day of December 2019.”
“The Service has conducted “eye witness” accounts of what transpired with the aim of showing that officers of the Service were not involved in the rearrest of Sowore.”
“Second, the Service argues on the one hand that the arrest of Sowore was “stage managed” by his supporters in order to give the Service a bad name whilst also admitting at the same time that officers of the Service arrested Sowore outside the Court.”
“Having declared that the Service arrested Sowore “outside the court”, despite the “stage managing” argument, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court.’
“However, the following facts underscore our insistence that the Service was solely responsible for the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the court:
“By the advantage of information technology, the whole world has placed responsibility for the desecration of the court on the SSS. The SSS cannot extricate itself from the abominable acts of 6th December, 2019.”
“When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan. As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court.”
“Having taken over the court room vi et armis Justice Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases. After the learned trial judge had risen for the day she summoned the heads of the prosecution and defence teams to her chambers.”
“When the prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan denied knowledge of the invasion of her court she directed him to invite the head of the DSS team in the court. When challenged to justify the invasion of the court the officer could not. He apologised to Justice Ojukwu on behalf of the SSS.”
“The judge then directed the officer to withdraw the SSS operatives from the court room. The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the court room but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house.”
Sowore and Bakare were arrested by the operatives of DSS on August 3, 2019, at about 1:25 am according to a distress tweet he posted just before his phone was confiscated.
Both detainees are facing seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, money laundering and cybercrimes, amongst others.