- Court rules 1:00 p.m.
Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Friday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to grant bail to the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on liberal terms.
This plea came just as Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed 1:00 p.m. for ruling on the bail applications by the defendants.
Falana, who is the lead counsel for the two men, had argued that the charges of treasonable felony instituted against his clients were baseless, as tagging their protest “revolution” was not an offence in Nigeria.
He also said President Muhammadu Buhari, had in the past called for a violent revolution like the one that took place in Egypt and was not arrested or prosecuted.
“In the entire gamut of the submission of the complainant, the allegation is that the first defendant (Sowore) was going to overthrow the government of Nigeria through protests.
“He was not even accused of training people in Ghana like Chief Obafemi Awolowo when he was charged with treasonable felony. In this case, no training, no contact with any soldier.
“We have shown that leaders of the ruling party (the All Progressives Congress) have been calling for a revolution. In 2011, Mr. President called for revolution like the violent Egyptian revolution.
“In this case, the first defendant warned that nobody should engage in violence, ‘we are protesting peacefully. We submit with profound respect that the use of the word ‘revolution’ has not been criminalised in Nigeria.
“When President Buhari called for revolution, he was never arrested or prosecuted.”
In opposing the bail, the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), urged the judge to disregard the arguments by Falana on the grounds that they were not relevant to the bail application.
He said they were issues that the court would only determine at the end of trial, while urging the court to consider the “severity” of the offence of treasonable felony, which he said attracted life imprisonment.
He further argued that the prospect of such punishment being imposed on the defendants could make them jump bail, and therefore urged the court “to take judicial notice” of the fact the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who was also charged with treasonable felony, jumped bail.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on September 30 ordered the remand of the two men in the custody of the Department of State Service after the Federal Government arraigned them on seven counts of treasonable felony, cybercrimes and money laundering instituted against them.
•With agency report