The Nigerian Government has been directed to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against activist and publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore.
In addition, it must accord the #RevolutionNow convener compensation and "other reparations, in accordance with international law."
The directive was given by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The group, which investigates cases of arbitrary deprivation of liberty, noted that Mr. Sowore’s prolonged incarceration by Nigerian authorities runs contrary to international legal instruments guiding civil and political rights.
Citing opinions adopted at its eighty-seventh session held between April 27 – May 1, 2020, the group wrote: “The Working Group requests the Government of Nigeria to take the steps necessary to remedy the situation of Mr Sowore without delay and to bring it into conformity with the relevant international norms, including those set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, the group said in a statement.
“The Working Group considers that taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the appropriate remedy would be to unconditionally release Mr Sowore immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law”, the statement added.
Mr. Sowore was arrested in Lagos on August 3, 2019 and taken into custody by agents of Nigeria’s secret police SSS, for alleged treasonable felony, cyberstalking and money-laundering.
The activist, a presidential candidate of the AAC in the 2019 election, had called for a peaceful revolution to protest against decades of bad governance in Nigeria was detained for 144 days despite different court orders mandating his release.
The SSS claimed that Mr. Sowore’s #RevolutionNow campaign, which was slated for August 5, 2019 – two days before his arrest – threatened public safety and presented a threat of insurrection to the Nigerian government, although it failed to supply any evidence to substantiate the claims before the public or the federal court handling the case.
SCOOPER earlier reported how the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday refused to grant the application by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), seeking the revocation of bail granted to Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who turned down the request of the AGF’s counsel, Kayode Alilu, adjourned the matter until December 10 and 11 for continuation of trial, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
When the matter was called at the resumed trial on Wednesday, lawyer to Sowore and Bakare, Marshal Abubakar, who held brief for Femi Falana (SAN), told the court that Sowore, though was in Abuja, he was indisposed as a result of ill health.
Abubakar further hinted that Bakare could not come to court also because of the ongoing protest, which had crippled activities in Osun where he presently resides.
The AGF’s counsel, Kayode Alilu, urged the court to issue a bench warrant against the defendants and also revoke the bail granted them having not been in the 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 him, they had no reason not to be in court having not been here in the last adjourned date.
Abubakar objected to Alilu’s application, adding that Mr Falana, who he represented, would have loved to be in court but for the crisis in Lagos, which had led to the 24-hour curfew.
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 got a message from the 1st defendant that he was on his way to the court.