The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has granted an application by the convener of #RevolutionNow and human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, to file a notice of appeal against his stringent bail terms.
Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) had arrested Sowore in the early hours of August 3, 2019, for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations on August 5, 2019, to demand a better country from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He was kept in unlawful detention from that period until December 5, 2019, when he was finally released on bail despite two court orders earlier sanctioning his freedom.
In a twist of event, DSS operatives invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2019, to rearrest him without any court order.
He remained in unlawful detention until 18 days later when he was released by the secret police for the second time.
Ijeoma Ojukwu, the trial Judge had granted Sowore N100 million bail with two sureties who must be residents of Abuja and have landed properties within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The court had held that the sureties must deposit original documents of those properties.
The judge also ordered that one of the sureties must deposit N30 million with the court pending the determination of the case.
The activist remains confined to Abuja as one of his bail conditions forbids him from leaving the city or speaking with journalists until the end of his trial.
Groups and high-ranking individuals from around the world have described the charges against the activist as baseless and a waste of time.
Femi Falana, Sowore’s counsel, had approached the Appeal Court seeking an alteration of the previous bail conditions which he said were stringent, and thus, could not be met.
In the sitting on Tuesday, Marshall Abubakar, a lawyer to the activist, urged the court to grant an order “extending the time within which the applicant/appellant may file his notice of appeal against the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division in CHARGE NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019, between FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V OMOYELE SOWORE and 1 other delivered by His Lordship, Honourable Justice ljeoma Ojukwu, on the 21st day of October 2019, the time within which to file same having elapsed”.
He also asked to withdraw prayer 2 which is an order “deeming the applicant’s/appellant’s Notice of Appeal filed against the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division in CHARGE NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019, between FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V OMOYELE SOWORE & 1 other delivered by His Lordship, Honourable Justice ljeoma Ojukwu, on the 21st day of October 2019, a proposed copy attached herewith as “Exhibit A” and filed separately at the Registry of this Honourable Court as a separate process, as having been properly filed and served on the respondent”.
Moore Adumein, the Judge, granted the applicant’s motion “to file a notice of appeal at the registry of the federal high court Abuja 14 days from today” and struck out the second request.