- Court to hear bail application today
An Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Wuse Zone 2, yesterday remanded the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoleye Sowore, at the Kuje Correctional Centre. Sowore was arrested on New Year’s Eve for leading a protest against bad governance in the country.
He was remanded alongside four others – Juwon Sanyaolu, Damilare Adenola, Peter, and Kimrere – who were also arrested at the scene of the protest.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command had in the First Information Report it entered before the court, which contains a three-count charge, alleged that the defendants were arrested with placards that called for a violent revolution against President Muhammadu Buhari. The defendants, however, separately pleaded not guilty to the charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and alleged attempt to incite a public disturbance.
Shortly after the defendants entered their plea, the police counsel. DCP James Idachaba, told the court that police would need more time to conclude their ongoing investigations.
He, therefore, requested for the defendants to be remanded in prison custody until the conclusion of the investigation. His application was opposed by the defence counsel, Marshall Abubakar, who is from the Chambers of Femi Falana, SAN, who made an oral application for the release of the defendants on bail, pending their trial.
Abubakar argued that the charges against the defendants were bailable offences.
However, in a short ruling, the magistrate, Mabel Segun-Bello, directed the defendants to file a formal bail application. She subsequently adjourned the matter till today to hear the defendants’ motions for bail.
The initial decision of the court to remand the defendants at the Wuse Police Station was shelved after the DPO could not be reached on the phone. The court directed that the defendants be kept at the Kuje Correctional Centre, pending the determination of their bail request.
It further directed that they should be granted the facility to prepare for their case. Sowore was previously detained for about five months after he was arrested for convening the #RevolutionNow protest in 2019. In a tweet at the end of the court proceeding yesterday, Sowore accused the prosecution of plotting “next moves” against him.
The tweet read: “We have been sent to the infamous Kuje Prison for the next 24 hours while they plot their next moves. But we are very resolute and convinced that this year will be different for the tyrant! #RevolutionNow.” Sowore had, before his arrest on New Year’s Eve, sent out a series of tweets, calling on Nigerians to join him in a protest against the administration of President Buhari.
He said: “How about a crossover protest/uprising tonight? Is anyone willing to participate? Pick up a candle and a placard showing your grievances against the regime; let’s upload our short videos and photos across our social media platforms. Let’s welcome the regime to a resolute 2021.
“#CrossoverWithProtest against tyrant @mbuhari’s regime, candlelight for #LekkiMassacre; a placard for #EndBadGovernment; procession to usher in #Revolutionary 2021, a fist for victims of repression-frozen bank accounts, malicious prosecution and detention of #Endsars activists.
“#CrossoverWithProtest starts at 11.30pm till 12.30am across Nigeria, a candle, a placard and fireworks to usher in a RESOLUTE 2021 in Nigeria! Join with your friends and neighbours #End- SARS. #ObigboMassacre #LekkiMassacre #EndBadGoveranceInNigeria #BuhariTrainwreck #RevolutionNow.”
Sowore is currently answering to an amended two-count treasonable felony charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja, alongside his co-defendant, Olawole Bakare
. The defendants were specifically alleged in that charge to have conspired to stage a revolution campaign on August 5, 2019, tagged “#RevolutionNow”, aimed at removing President Buhari from office as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during his term of office, otherwise than by constitutional means.