Continuous unlawful detention of SOWORE, Bakare will harm democracy says HURIWA

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A prominent civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the hierarchy of the Department of State Services (DSS) to comply with extant court orders and free Omoyele Sowere and Olawale Bakare on bail with immediate effect.

In a statement by the national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the media affairs director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA stated that the ongoing violation of the binding bail orders issued by a competent courts of law is a gross violation of the constitution with reference to section 6 which affirms that:

(1) The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation.

(2) The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State.

(3) The courts to which this section relates, established by this Constitution for the Federation and for the States, specified in subsection (5) (a) to (1) of this section, shall be the only superior courts of record in Nigeria; and save as otherwise prescribed by the National Assembly or by the House of Assembly of a State, each court shall have all the powers of a superior court of record.

(4) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this section shall be construed as precluding:- (a) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly from establishing courts, other than those to which this section relates, with subordinate jurisdiction to that of a High Court; (b) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly, which does not require it, from abolishing any court which it has power to establish or which it has brought into being.

(5) This section relates to:- (a) the Supreme Court of Nigeria; (b) the Court of Appeal; (c) the Federal High Court; (d) the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (e) a High Court of a State (f) the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (g) a Sharia Court of Appeal of a State; (h) the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (i) a Customary Court of Appeal of a State; (j) such other courts as may be authorized by law to exercise jurisdiction on matters with respect to which the National Assembly may make laws; and (k) such other court as may be authorized by law to exercise jurisdiction at first instance or on appeal on matters with respect to which a House of Assembly may make laws.

(6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section – (a) shall extend, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, to all inherent powers and sanctions of a court of law (b) shall extend, to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any persons in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person; (c) shall not except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act of omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution; (d) shall not, as from the date when this section comes into force, extend to any action or proceedings relating to any existing law made on or after 15th January, 1966 for determining any issue or question as to the competence of any authority or person to make any such law.”

“We urge the international community not to stand by and watch as government agencies in Nigeria defecate on the Nigerian constitution which is the supreme law on which constitutional democracy is anchored. The consequences of allowing government officials in Nigeria to continue to breach the constitution with reckless abandon is that anti-democratic forces and reactionary elements may be emboldened to unleash anarchy and impunity on a grand scale which will inevitably threaten national security interest. It is in the enlightened national security interest that all agencies of government are compelled by institutions such as the National Assembly to obey the laws of the land so as to stave off imminent collapse of constitutional democracy.”

HURIWA recalled that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday reviewed the bail conditions earlier granted to the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.

The court on October 4 granted bail of N100 million to Mr. Sowore and and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, N50 million.

Her Lordship Ojukwu it would be recalled said Mr. Sowore should produce two sureties in like sum even as the other aspects are that of that amount, N50 million was to be deposited with the court while the balance was to be put in place should Mr. Sowore jump bail.

The court said Mr. Sowore’s sureties must deposit tax clearance certificates for three years, 2016 to 2018, and documents of landed properties in Abuja. The sureties were also to deposit affidavit of means for their assets.

The court ruled that when released after meeting his bail conditions, Mr Sowore should remain in Abuja till the case is determined while his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, should not leave his place of residence in Osogbo except for the trial. The court also said Mr. Bakare should present one surety and a bail bond of N50 million.

HURIWA recalled that however that on Monday, Justice Ojukwu said the court has right to grant bail and may review it if necessary. She set aside the N50 million security deposits by one of the sureties and also reduced the N50 million bail of the second defendant, Mr Bakare.

The activist and publisher of Saharareporters Mr. Sowore, who was arrested on August 3 by Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) for planning a protest popularized with the hashtag #RevolutionNow, was granted bail for the second time on Friday.

A previous bail granted the defendant on September 24 was not complied with by the SSS. The two accused are facing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.

HURIWA reminded the DSS that there are plethora of judgments of the Supreme court that deprecate the executive acts of wanton disrespect to binding orders of Justice just as Justice Kayode Eso then of the supreme court of Nigeria had ruled that: ‘I think it is a very serious matter for anyone to flout a positive order of a court and proceed to taunt the court while still in contempt of the lower court.

It is more serious when the act of flouting the order of the court, the contempt of the court, is by Executive…I think, for one organ, and more especially the Executive, which holds all the physical powers, to put up itself in sabotage or deliberate contempt of the other is to stage an executive subversion of the constitution it is to uphold. Executive lawlessness is tantamount to a deliberate violation of the constitution…. To use force to effect an act while under the marshal of that force, seek the court’s equity, is an attempt to infuse timidity into court and operate a sabotage of the cherished rule of law. It must never be.”

HURIWA has therefore demanded the immediate compliance of the lawful orders of the Court unless and except we are now been told that the Nigerian Constitution has been suspended and/or if Nigeria is under a military dictatorship.

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