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Falana: Malami exposed judiciary to ridicule over Sowore’s release

Falana: Malami exposed judiciary to ridicule over Sowore’s release
January 05
13:42 2020
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Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, exposed the judiciary to ridicule through his comment on the release of Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement. 

Upon the release of Sowore and Sambo Dasuki, a former national security adviser (NSA), Malami had claimed that the government was right in detaining both despite court orders granting them bail.

Malami argued that there were appeals for stay of execution all through, and until the case got to the supreme court, the government was operating within the laws to keep Sowore and Dasuki in detention. 

But reacting in a statement on Sunday, Falana asked Malami to check Sowore’s case file as there was no time the government appealed judgments granting him bail. 

“Since the release of Sowore and Dasuki from illegal custody on December 24, 2019,  the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN  has put himself under undue pressure,” Falana wrote. 

“In the process, he has embarrassed the executive and exposed the judiciary to ridicule. After announcing that he had directed the state security service to release Sowore and Dasuki from custody in compliance with the court orders that had granted them bail the justice minister  turned round to say that the release was an act of compassion and mercy on the part of the executive.

“With respect, the minister’s statement is factually and legally erroneous in every material particular.  If the justice minister has had time to review Sowore’s case file which he had withdrawn from the State Security Service he would have confirmed that no appeal was filed against the two decisions of the federal high court which admitted him and his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare to bail.

“Instead of challenging the orders granting bail to Sowore and Bakare at the court of appeal, the  State Security Service had actually attempted to constitute itself into an appellate court over the federal high court by insisting on approving the sureties that had been verified by the trial court. 

“As defence counsel, we rejected the illegal request to produce the sureties before the director-general of the State Security Service until the Honourable Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave him a 24-hour ultimatum  to release the duo from illegal custody.”

Falana said the federal government did not file any appeal against six different court orders granting Dasuki bail. He said having not opposed the bail application, the government could not have filed any appeal against the order of the court. 

“Since no notice of appeal or motion for stay of execution was ever filed by the federal government against the orders of bail for Sowore and Dasuki, the justice minister ought to tender a public apology for misleading the Nigerian people.  However, if the justice minister can produce any notice of appeal or motion for stay of execution in respect of the two cases, I will publicly apologise to him for misleading the Nigerian people.” 

He said the council of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which was dissolved in 2015 should be reconstituted by President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of the AGF. 

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