Why we release Dasuki, Sowore – FG as SERAP reacts
Barely 2 hours after protesters calling for the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore were violently attacked at the office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja, on Monday, the Federal Government has ordered his release and that of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The development which came as a surprise to Nigerians was, according to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, in compliance with the bail granted the two by the court.
According to a statement released by Malami, “The office of the honourable Attorney General of the Federation has reviewed the pending criminal charges against the duo of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Omoyele Sowore.
“Whilst the Federal High Court has exercised its discretion in granting bail to the Defendants in respect of the charges against them, I am also not unmindful of the right of the Complainant/Prosecution to appeal or further challenge the grant of bail by the court having regards to extant legal provisions, particularly Section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
“However, my office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts.
“In line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and in compliance with the bail granted to Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail.
“The two defendants are enjoined to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land.
“I wish to reiterate again the utmost regard of my office for the entire judicial structure of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has described the action as a positive step taken in a right direction by the government with the view that citizens would be allowed to enjoy their constitutional rights.
In a statement released, it said “This is a positive step by the federal government. We hope that this signals a change in direction in Nigeria towards full respect for the rule of law, tolerance & greater openness by the government that would allow citizens to effectively enjoy their constitutional rights & fundamental freedoms.
“The President Buhari government should now immediately withdraw all charges against Mr Sowore and Olaware Bakare and all others detained simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression. They should never have been charged in the first place”.
Similarly, SERAP also called for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Agba Jalingo and all those still detained on bogus charges, having spoken out in favour of greater democracy, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.