Nigerian magistrate orders remand of political activist Omoyele Sowore, four others

Political activist and former presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore speaks to his lawyer during his bail hearing at a magistrate court in Abuja, Nigeria.

A magistrate court in Abuja adjourned the case filed against publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and others without granting or denying them bail.

The magistrate adjourned the case to January 8.

Mr Sowore was arrested alongside four protesters during a #CrossOverProtest held on the eve of new year in Abuja.

After spending four days in police detention, the protesters were arraigned before the Wuse Zone 2 court by police on Monday on charges of unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance.

Taye Maibel, in her ruling on Monday, ordered that the accused be transferred to Kuje Correctional Prison detention till Tuesday when the court will hear the bail application.

However, Ms Maibel, in a ruling on Tuesday evening, after listening to the counsels of the parties involved, again ordered that Mr Sowore and other protesters be transferred to Force CIID in Area 10, in Abuja.

The magistrate adjourned the case on the grounds of technicalities raised by the police legal team on the submission of a joint affidavit for the five accused persons in the case.

In a counter argument, Mr Sowore’s lawyer, Marshal Abubakar, from Femi Falana Chambers, argued that his colleague’s point was not relevant as “there have been cases where defendants filed joint affidavits.”

To drive home his argument before the magistrate who nodded in agreement, Mr Abubakar cited Sambo Dasuki and James Ibori among the popular cases where defendants filed joint affidavits without legal backlash from court.

However, against the defendants’ argument, the magistrate ruled that Mr Sowore should be returned to detention to afford parties involved time to study the case.

Taking into consideration defendants’ complaint of unfair treatment and denied access to clothing and medical care by officials of the Kuje Custodian Centre, the court thereby gave Mr Sowore the options of either being taken to the Police Force CIID in Area 10 or to SARS Headquarters in Abbatoir, Abuja.

Ms Maibel also ordered that Damilare Adenola, a law student at the University of Abuja, arrested alongside Mr Sowore, be granted access to gadgets and writing materials so as to catch up with other students cleared to receive lectures online.

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