Femi Falana (SAN) legal counsel to Omoyele Sowore has schooled the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami that he lacks the constitutional power to release any detainee out of compassion.
This is in response to the AGF’s claim who said the embattled Journalist and Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA) were released out of compassion and not out of international pressure from the United States.
In Malami’s words, “the only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around our commitment to the rule of law are obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds,”
However, Falana has reacted to the AGF’s statement in a letter addressed to the Justice Minister. The human rights lawyer stated that only the President and states governors possessed the rights to release any detainee on compassionate grounds.
He advised Malami to tender an apology to Sowore and Dasuki rather than make such outrageous claims.
“It is trite law that once a trial court has granted bail to any person standing trial for any offence whatsoever and the bail conditions have been met the detaining authority shall release the person from custody without any further ado,” he said.
“In other words, the refusal to release a defendant who has been admitted to bail by a trial judge is tantamount to contempt of court. Hence, before Sowore’s release we had filed Forms 48 and 49 for the committal of the Director-General of the State Security Service to prison for contempt of court.”
“The government is not permitted to refuse to comply with the order of bail under the pretext of defending the security of the nation.”
“Even under the defunct military dictatorship, detaining authorities were not authorized to incarcerate any person for “security reasons” in defiance of court orders,”
“With respect, the federal government has itself to blame for the needless controversy that has trailed the release of the duo. But having belatedly deemed it fit to review your position and advise the federal government in line with the tenets of the rule of law you ought to have apologised to both Sowore and Dasuki.”
“That is what is expected of you in accordance with section 32 (6) of the 1999 Constitution. It is not an occasion for grandstanding or arrogant display of power.”