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Court Declines Request to Review Order Detaining Sowore for 45 days


Justice Nkeonye Maha of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, refused to grant an application seeking a review of an ex-parte order allowing the Department of State Services (DSS) to further detain the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele, Sowore for 45 days pending the conclusion of its investigation.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on August 8, 2019, granted the DSS leave to further detain Sowore, the publisher of the Sahara Reporters for another 45 days, following an ex-parte application by the DSS for leave to hold Sowore in its custody for 90 days, pending the conclusion of its investigation.

In the motion ex-parte brought by the DSS, under Section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, the agency accused Sowore of engaging in terrorism Act and tendered two digital video disks (DVD), which contained recording of Sowore’s meeting with Nnamdi Kanu of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and an interview where Sowore was said to have boasted that members of the equally proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were going to join forces with him to bring down President Muhammadu Buhari government.

Sowore, who is presently in detention had, through his counsel, Femi Falana (SAN) on August 9, approached the court with an application seeking an order to vacate the ex-parte order that gave the DSS the legal backing to further detain him for 45 days.

In a motion on notice, brought pursuant to sections 6 (6) (B), 35 and 36(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and under the jurisdiction of the court, Sowore asked the court to vacate the order on the grounds that the order was made in violation of his full rights.

Justice Taiwo, who gave the ex-parte order for Sowore’s further detention by the DSS as a vacation judge, referred the Sowore’s application to Justice Maha, another vacation Judge of the court.

When the matter came up Wednesday, Falana urged Justice Maha to abridge the time and hear the application before the expiration of the 45 days.

He said DSS has no power, under the law, to detain his client, adding, “That the Court will be doing justice by hearing us before the expiration of the 45 days”.

According to Falana, justice Maha has the powers, under the law to review the decision of Justice Taiwo and cited several decisions of superior courts to buttress his submissions
He further submitted that Order 26, Rule 9 of the Federal High Court procedural Rule empowers the court to hear the application.

However, Justice Maha, in her ruling said Justice Taiwo had, in his order, made on August 8, granted the DSS leave to hold Sowore for another 45 days and added that, by the order, the return date in the matter shall be September 21, 2019.

“This means that this suit is adjourned till September 21 for hearing. This court cannot review the decision of a court of coordinate jurisdiction.

“I make an order, returning this case back to Court 10, before Justice Taiwo for the matter to be heard by him “, Justice Maha stated

Sowore, who is also the presidential candidate of the African Alliance Congress (AAC) in the February 2019 presidential election, was arrested in the early hours of August 4 by the operatives of the DSS in a hotel in Lagos and subsequently moved to Abuja.


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