Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 election and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, is still in a DSS detention facility, 48hrs after a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered his immediate release on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. 

Sowore was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on August 3, 2019 after calling for nationwide protests, tagged RevolutionNow, against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

On September 20, 2019, the federal government slammed Sowore with seven charges bordering on alleged treasonable felony, fraud, money laundering and cyber-stalking.

Leaving without the client

However, on Tuesday, Justice Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja struck out an application by the DSS which sought to continue keeping Sowore in detention pending his arraignment in court, and granted him bail.

Premium Times reports that Justice Taiwo’s bail pronouncement is yet to be obeyed.

Omoyele Sowore called for a revolution and was arrested (Premium Times)
Omoyele Sowore called for a revolution and was arrested (Premium Times)

According to the online newspaper, Marshal Abubakar, a lawyer with the chambers of Sowore’s lead counsel, Femi Falana, disclosed that they left the office of the DSS at 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday without Sowore.

Sowore’s lawyers submitted documents indicating full compliance to the order for their client's release at the DSS office where it was received by Ayuba Adam, a DSS operative, at 10.08 a.m on Wednesday, the report states. 

Sowore’s lawyers then left the DSS office some 12 hours after fulfilling their end of the bargain in accordance with the bail ruling. 

However, Abubakar told Premium Times that the DSS officials asked them to return on Thursday to “discuss with the SSS DG Yusuf Bichi.”

A jail threat

The Federal High Court has now threatened to jail the DSS DG if its orders to set Sowore free are not obeyed, according to Sahara Reporters.

in a notice of "disobedience to order of court" issued by the court on Thursday and addressed to the DSS DG, the court directed the DSS boss to comply with the directive to set Sowore free or face grave consequences, which includes "commitment to prison", the report states.

Sowore's arrest and subsequent detention has been criticized by opposition elements and members of the civil society as a clamp down on free speech and an infringement on his fundamental rights as enshrined in the nation's constitution.