Nigeria: #RevolutionNow Protest - Court Rejects Request to Revoke Sowore, Bakare's Bail

22 October 2020

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday declined request by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to revoke the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow protest, and one Olawale Bakare.

The federal government had on February 13, 2020, re-arraigned Sowore and Bakare on a two-count amended charge, bordering on alleged conspiracy to commit treasonable felony.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When the matter was called at the resumed trial yesterday, though counsel to the parties were in court, Sowore and Bakare were conspicuously absent.

Lawyer to Sowore and Bakare, Marshal Abubakar, told the court that Sowore, although in Abuja, was indisposed.

He also said Bakare could not come to court because of the ongoing #EndSARS protest, which had crippled activities in Osun State where he presently resides.

Following the absence of the defendants in court, counsel to the federal government, Kayode Alilu, then applied that the court should issue a bench warrant against the defendants and likewise revoke the bail granted them having not been in court for their trial.

The lawyer argued that there was no evidence of medical report showing that Sowore was ill, and that the excuse by Bakare of lockdown in the state where he resides was not tenable.

According to Alilu, they have no reason not to be in court having not been here in the last adjourned date.

Meanwhile, Abubakar objected to Alilu's application. He said Femi Falana, who he represented, would have loved to be in court but for the crisis in Lagos State which had led to the 24-hour curfew imposed in the state.

He said the same scenario was what happened to Bakare.

The counsel, who informed the court that Sowore had just developed malaria symptoms and could not have gotten a medical report, then told the court that he had had a message from the 1st defendant that he was on his way to the court.

Justice Ojukwu then asked that she should be notified when Sowore is in court, and subsequently adjourned the matter till December 10 and 11, 2020, for continuation of the trial.

However, after about an hour, Sowore, accompanied by some youth, entered the courtroom.

His lawyer, Abubakar, then stood up to inform the court of his client's arrival shortly after the case was adjourned.

Justice Ojukwu then asked the parties to appear on the next adjourned date.

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