Law

Sowore asks Federal High Court to reverse DSS’ detention order

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The  Convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside its order permitting the Department of State Services to detain him for 45 days.

The request was contained in a 19-ground application filed through his lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), stating that the order breached his constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights.

The  DSS on August 3 arrested Sowore  over his call for a revolution ahead of the #RevolutionNow protests which held in some parts of the country on August 5.

Following this, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the same court granted the DSS an order to detain Sowore for only 45 days.

In his suit, Falana stated that, “The said order of the honourable court breached the fundamental rights provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The detention of the respondent/applicant for an initial four days period before the grant of the ex-parte order is illegal by virtue of Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

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“The order ex parte brought pursuant to Section 27(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2013 was obtained by the applicant/respondent to legalise an illegal detention by the applicant/respondent.

“The applicant/respondent dumped the video evidence in support of its application on the honourable court whilst the learned trial judge watched same in his chambers and not in the open court.

“The respondent/applicant was arrested on  August 3, 2019 before the planned protest that took place  August 5, 2019 while he was already under the custody of the applicant/respondent.”

They added, “The persons who participated in the protests of  August 5, 2019 have been charged with unlawful assembly at the magistrates’ courts at Ebute Meta, Lagos State and Calabar, Lagos State.

“The applicant/respondent had concluded investigation of this case and announced its findings.’’

“The respondent/applicant had also volunteered statement to the applicant/respondent.

“At the time of the hearing of the motion ex parte, the respondent/applicant was in custody of the applicant/respondent at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

Falana  argued that his client’s detention “has exceeded the maximum period a court of law can allow in line with the provisions of Section 35 (4)(a) of the Nigerian Constitution”, which he said only permitted detention for “a maximum period of two months from the date of their arrest”.

He added that the court order made August 8 “was based on a wrong presumption and mistake that the complaint against the respondent therein relates to terrorism”.

He added, “That by virtue of Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, an application for the remand of any suspect is to be made before a magistrates’ court.”

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