Court to hear Sowore, Bakare’s N1bn suits against DSS March 25

the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday fixed March 25 for the hearing of the N1bn fundamental rights enforcement suits instituted by Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare over their alleged illegal detention.

The duo were  released  from the Department of State Services  custody in December 2019.

Sowore, publisher of SaharaReporters,  and Bakare, who  are being prosecuted by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony,  instituted their separate suits against the Director General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, and  the Aattorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in November 2019.

 The DSS  arrested Sowore in Lagos on August 2, 2019, and Bakare in Osogbo, Osun State, three days later for organising a protest tagged #RevolutionNow, which the FG alleged was aimed at toppling the Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime.

Despite being granted bail on two occasions by different judges, the defendants were  released in December 2019 after the government came under local and international pressure to obey court orders.

Justice Inyang Ekwo in separate proceedings on Wednesday   set the   hearing  date  after granting the applications for some processes filed by  the parties.

 While Sowore was present at the  proceedings  Bakare was absent.

Explaining Bakare’s absence, his lawyer, Marshal Abubakar, said  his client had been confined in Osogbo by an order of the court granting him bail in respect of the charges.

Bichi  was represented by his lawyer, Isoun Awo, while Abubakar Nuhu, represented the AGF.

 Awo also withdrew an earlier ex parte application   filed by the DSS to extend the period within which the agency could keep the men in detention.

He said the application had been overtaken by event.

The judge subsequently made an order striking out the application.

 Sowore and Bakare have sought N500m damages each in their separate suits filed on their behalf by Femi Falana (SAN).

They alleged that their  arrest and the physical attack unleashed on them by the DSS in Lagos and Osogbo  on August 2 and 5, as well as their  continued illegal detention by the agency, constituted a violation of their rights.

While still in detention, Sowore and Bakare were charged with treasonable felony and other sundry charges.

But on September 24, 2019, upon the expiration of the 45 days detention period, Justice Taiwo ordered their release.

But the  DSS DG refused to comply with the order and continued to hold the men in custody.
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