Court Invasion: Senate receives committee report six months after

Omoyele Sowore
File photo of Omoyele Sowore in court

The Senate has received the report of its committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the invasion of a federal high court by security operatives in December 2019.

This comes six months after the incident and after the committee was asked to investigate the court invasion and rearrest of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) – even though it was given one week to report back to the Senate.

The chairman of the committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, laid the report before the Senate on Wednesday.

Mr Sowore was arrested alongside another activist, Olawale Bakare, on August 3 for planning a protest to call for good governance.

They were charged with treasonable felony, fraud and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.

The court granted the duo bail twice but the SSS refused to release them until December 5.

However, less than 24 hours after it finally obeyed the court order, the SSS rearrested the two men within the federal high court in Abuja, sparking national outrage.

Mr Sowore was finally released on December 24, 2019.

Justifying the action of the SSS, the presidency said Mr Sowore’s call for revolution was aimed at overthrowing the democratically elected president of Nigeria.

Many Nigerians and organisations condemned the act and called for the sack of the Director-General SSS, Yusuf Bichi. The Nigerian Bar Association also called for the suspension of Mr Bichi.

In the course of its investigation, the Senate committee invited a senior lawyer, Femi Falana, for testimonies. It also asked the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SSS, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, the Chief Judge of Federal High Court and the presiding judge at the time of the invasion, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, to submit their testimonies of what transpired.

Details of the report including findings and recommendations will be considered on another legislative day.


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