Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday ordered the release of Revolution Now convener, Omoyele Sowore and his co defendant, Olawale Bakare within the next 24 hours.
This is even as she expressed great reservation over the refusal of the security service to release the defendants.
At the resumed hearing, Thursday, counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana (SAN) complained to the court that its order as regards release of documents and the defendants who have been granted bail has not been complied with by the prosecution.
Falana, who told Justice Ojukwu that one month after the court ordered service of documents to be tendered on the defence, the prosecution only served the defence the documents Thursday and hence would need time to study the documents as well as watch the attached videos with the defendants.
He also prayed the court to direct the prosecution to serve the full statements of all listed witnesses instead of a summary statement to aid their defence.
The defendants lawyer further told the court that he was having difficulty gaining access to his client who is still in custody of the prosecution despite meeting his bail conditions.
Justice Ojukwu was infuriated that her order on the release of the defendants was flouted by the service.
Justice Ojukwu, while wondering why a legitimate order of court would not be obeyed, asked if the DSS has constituted itself as a parallel court to the main court.
Justice Ojukwu at this juncture called on the prosecution witness to explain why Sowore and Bakare were still in their custody.
The prosecution counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), admitted that the order was served on the prosecution but the defendants were yet to be released because the DSS had asked their sureties to come for identification.
Justice Ojukwu then asked the prosecution counsel whether that request was part of the court’s order.
“Is that part of the order, is there a parallel court here, who is directing that? Is there another court else where? The court queried.
Justice Ojukwu expressed pain that the DSS could flout her orders even after she took time to ensure that the bail conditions were met.
In a short ruling, the judge ordered that the defendants be released within the next 24 hours and adjourned to Friday, November 6 for report of compliance.
On the request for adjournment by Sowore’s lawyer for time to study the documents and videos tendered as evidence against Sowore, Justice Ojukwu held that because the instant adjournment was created by the prosecution she was inclined to award cost against the prosecution.
She recalled that while adjourning the matter on November, she had ordered that the prosecution to serve all necessary documents it intends to tender on the defence before the commencement of trial on Thursday.
“Since the last time, you did not deem it necessary to serve”, she said while refusing Liman’s claim that the late service was due to administrative bottleneck.
Justice Ojukwu subsequently awarded a cost of N100,000 against the prosecution, adding that trial would only go on upon payment of the N100,000 fine.
Sowore, the publisher of Sahara reporter and his co-defendant are facing a seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony in breach of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, money laundering and cybercrimes amongst others.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail on October 4, in the sum of N100m and N50m respectively with two sureties in like sum.
For Sowore, one of the sureties according to the judge, must deposit the sum of N50m cash as security for the bail.
However, the court had two weeks later varied the bail conditions following a request to that effect.
Justice Ojukwu had signed the release of the bail of the defendants after they met the bail conditions.
But the DSS had refused to released the defendants even after evidence that they have met the conditions attached to the bail.