Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has warned the Nigerian Government not to make any attempt to rearrest rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, over reports by his online news medium exposing that Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, had contracted Coronavirus.
Recall that SaharaReporters had on Monday reported that Kyari was ill and had contracted the deadly virus, which was later confirmed by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and dated March 26, 2020, Falana said that he had it on a good authority that there were clandestine moves by the Nigerian Army to secure an ex-parte order to detain Sowore over some ridiculous allegations of “revealing classified information” through SaharaReporters.
He explained that the move was aimed at undermining and truncating the rule of law and democracy.
He added that the activist was not a member of the Armed Forces and therefore cannot be subjected to the Armed Forces Act or any regulation to warrant any application to detain him in military facility.
The legal icon urged the Nigerian Army to report Sowore to the police if there was evidence that he had committed any offence whatsoever.
Falana said, “More so that our client who is currently facing a charge of treasonable felony has been admitted to bail by the trial court even though his freedom had been restricted to Federal Capital Territory.
“Furthermore, in view of Suit No.FHC /ABJ/CS/1469/2019 between Omoyele Sowore and ANOR ( pending before honourable Justice I.E Ekwo wherein the application is challenging the violation of his fundamental human right to personal liberty by the federal government, we urge your Lordship to use your good office to ensure that we are put on notice in the respect of any application that may be filed concerning our client.”
Recall that Sowore had on Thursday raised the alarm over a plot by the Nigerian Government to detain him over exposing the outbreak of Coronavirus in Aso Villa.
In a message to his followers on Facebook on Thursday, Sowore said his lawyers had informed him of a high-powered delegation sent to the Federal High Court in Abuja to obtain a detention order.
Sowore was first arrested in the early hours of August 3, 2019 by operatives of the Department of State Services for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations on August 5 to demand a better country from the administration of President Buhari.
He was kept in unlawful detention from that period until December 5, 2019 when he was finally released on bail despite two court orders earlier sanctioning his freedom.
In a twist of event, DSS operatives invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2019 to rearrest him without any court order.
He remained in unlawful detention until 18 days later when he was released by the secret police for the second time.
At the resumption of his trial in a case brought against him by the Nigerian Government, the prosecution failed to prove accusations against him and even went ahead to dropping seven of the charges earlier preferred against him.
Groups and high-raking individuals from around the world have described the charges against Sowore as baseless and a waste of time.
The journalist remains confined to Abuja as one of his bail conditions forbids him from leaving the city or speaking with journalists until the end of his trial.