Lawyers chide SSS over Sowore

The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore,.
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore,.

Some Nigerian lawyers on Thursday condemned the continued detention of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, after a court on Tuesday ordered his immediate release.

The government has continued to hold Mr Sowore despite receiving an affidavit of compliance to the court order directing his release on Wednesday morning.

Marshal Abubakar, a lawyer with the chambers of Mr Sowore’s lead counsel, Femi Falana, told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday evening confirmed that they are yet to hear from the SSS, after officials asked them to return on Thursday to “discuss with the SSS DG,” Yusuf Bichi.

This was despite the court order which had instructed an immediate release of the respondent.

Mr Sowore’s lawyers submitted documents indicating full compliance with the order for Mr Sowore’s release at the SSS office where it was received by an official, Ayuba Adam, at 10.08 a.m on Wednesday.

Mr Sowore’s lawyers left the SSS office over 12 hours after fulfilling their end of the September 24 decision of the court, without the SSS doing the same.

Irate lawyers

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday in a telephone interview, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Simon Ameh, said the SSS should release him (Sowore) immediately since the court has ordered.

“They should obey the court order. If they have other cases against him, they can arrest him afresh. That one which they took him to court, they should release him immediately.”

Read also: Siasia begs Nigerian govt to help free kidnapped mother

Another lawyer, Monday Ejeh, said the continuous detention of Mr Sowore is a very pathetic one.

“There is an unholy alliance between security agencies and some members of the judiciary which had encouraged situations such as this,” he said.

Mr Ejeh said what the SSS has done is wrong in law because “the same judge that granted them the order to remand him which they complied with, has ordered for his release and they are refusing.”

He said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 did not make any room for one “to detain and keep people in such cruel manners until they are arraigned, he should be left to go.”

“A suspect is to be served a new charge at least seven days before trial commences,” he added.

Advertisement

FIRS AD

Mr Ejeh said the judiciary needs to take desperate measures and as such find a way of harmonising court orders.

“The problem is not the executive alone, the judiciary is an independent body and they need to rise to the situation and say no to this impunity.”

More reactions

In her reaction, human rights advocate, Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, said “It is a flagrant disobedience and a disregard for the rule of law which we have seen to be consistent under this government. This is not good for our jurisprudence and democracy and it is a total abuse of our Constitution.

“When governments refuse to comply with the direction of the courts, it is more or less like stating that the law and the Judiciary have lost their potency and are practically suspended for the rule of autocracy and totalitarianism,” Mrs Ogunlana-Nkanga said.

Abuja-based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, who cited a judgement of the Court of Appeal, said a court order “whether valid or not” must be obeyed until it is set aside.

Mr Jideobi said court orders are legal and moral obligation which must be complied with because “what makes a great country is adherence to the rule of law. Even in hell, there is order and discipline,” he added.

The lawyer quoted a judgment of the Supreme Court in another case as stating that obedience to court orders “is fundamental to the good order, peace and stability of the Nigerian nation”.

“Disobedience to an order of court should, therefore, be seen as an offence directed not against the personality of the Judge who made the Order, but as a calculated act of subversion of peace, law, and order in Nigeria society,” he explained.

Advertisement

PT Mag Campaign AD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...



NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.