Updated – Alleged Treason: Court gives Sowore, Bakare ‘soft landing’ on bail condition




Sowore

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the federal high court in Abuja on Monday ruled that the court has right to grant bail and may review it if necessary.

The review was a follow-up to an application by Sowore praying the court to vary his bail conditions on accounts of his inability to meet the conditions described as ‘stringent’ by his lawyers.

Delivering ruling in the application, the court granted the request of Sowore and consequently set aside the order directing one of the sureties to make a security deposit of N50 million.

While the court reviewed downward the bail of Bakare from N50 million to N20 million, that of Sowore remains N100 million.

The two accused are facing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, a previous bail granted the defendant on September 24 by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the federal high court was not complied with by the Department of State Security.

While opening his argument at Monday’s hearing, Sowore’s lawyer Femi Falana, SAN started by defending his client’s choice of the word “revolution” , saying that even the Supreme Court does not regard a revolution as a lawful offence.

“Even a coup that sustains the statuesque has been said not to be a revolution by the Supreme Court,” he held.

Arguing further, Falana reminded the court that after the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari lost previous elections, they staged protests where; “Buhari called for a revolution in 2011 like that of Egypt which was evidently violent.”

 “Only in 1948 was someone charged for staging a protest. And the charge was sedition,” he said.

Consequently, Falana therefore asked the court to grant the defendants bail on self recognizance, adducing that various courts had decided on the rights of Nigerians to peaceful protest and that the court had ruled during a case instituted by Buhari’s party that a police permit was unnecessary for the conduct of protests in a free society.

Objecting Falana stance, the prosecutor Hassan Liman expressed the fears that if granted bail, Sowore may jump bail like the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and that there is likelihood of Sowore’s continued call for a revolution.

Liman said, “ Sowore had personally chanted songs of revolution after his arraignment and would repeat the same thing if he is released on bail.”

But according to Falana, the allegation against his client did not support the claim made by Liman

On the argument by the defence counsel that Buhari’s also called for a revolution at one time, the prosecutor described it as baseless, arguing that it was irrelevant in the present circumstances.

Blueprint reports that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on the 4th of October granted bail to Sowore and Bakare to the tune of N100 million and N50 million respectively.

She ruled that, N50 million should be deposited with the court while the balance was to be put in place should Mr Sowore jump bail.

Not only that,  Ojukwu had ordered that Sowore should produce two sureties in like sum who must deposit tax clearance certificates for three years, while Bakare should equally present one surety and a bail bond of N50 million.

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