Why Sowore is still in detention after meeting bail conditions twice – DSS

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Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, while being arraigned.

The Department of State Services (DSS) has given its own side of the story on why Omoyele Sowore, the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters, is still been held in custody despite meeting his bail conditions twice.

Mr Sowore was arrested early August for planning a nationwide anti-government protest against the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The publisher and Mr Buhari were presidential candidates in the last general election but the president who at the time sought re-election defeated Sowore to retain his position for another term of four years.

The right activist arraigned on charges bordering on treasonable felony was granted bail in September, met his bail conditions but the federal agency refused to let him go.

Another order for his release by the same court which earlier granted the request of the DSS to detain the publisher when he was arrested has not been adhered to despite meeting the second bail conditions.

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The action of the security agency is coming despite a warning from Mohammed Tanko, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), that disobedience to court orders will not be tolerated in the present dispensation under his watch.

Defending why the publisher is still in detention despite meeting his bail conditions is the spokesman of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, who in a statement said no one has come to “take delivery” of the activist.

“Since the receipt of the (second) order, no person has turned up to take delivery of Mr Sowore from custody,” Mr Afunanya was quoted by Premium Times to have said.

Misleading claim

But the claim of the DSS for further refusing to release the publisher, who is reported to have embarked on hunger strike in protest of his continued detention, has been described as misleading by the legal counsel of the detainee, Femi Falana.

Mr Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the agency was been economical with the truth because lawyers to Sowore waited hours without achieving the desire result despite assurance from them for the release of Sowore on Friday.

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“Upon acknowledging the service of the reproduction warrants, the SSS assured the bailiff and five lawyers from the defence team that our clients would be released yesterday,” Mr Falana said in a statement published by the online news medium.

“But the SSS decided not to release our clients to our lawyers who waited in vain in the agency’s headquarters for not less than 4 hours,” the senior lawyer added.

This is not the first time the DSS has refused to obey court orders for the release of detainees in its custody. Despite series of court orders for his release, the agency is still detaining Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser (NSA) arrested in 2015 when the present administration took over power.