By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
Less than 12 hours after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered the release of detained Sahara Reporters publisher, politician, and activist, Omoyele Sowore, the Department of the State Services (DSS), has complied with the Judge’s order.
Sowore was let off the hook of the DSS along with his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, around 7:15 pm last night
They were released to their lead counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Mr Femi Falana.
The federal government lawyer Mr Hassan Liman SAN had earlier on Thursday after the court proceedings indicated that government would comply with order to release Sowore.
Recall that the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, gave the DSS an ultimatum of 24 hours to release the Convener, #RevolutionNow protest. She subsequently adjourned sitting for the same period.
Her order came as a motley crowd of elderly women outside the court went half naked to protest Sowore’s continued detention after he was granted bail. Sowore has been at the DSS detention facility since August.
The elderly women, who were initially clad in their blouses over white wrappers, later removed the blouses, showing their bras as they protested.
They carried placards asking for his release, and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to free him.
In court, the judge awarded a N100,000 fine against the DSS over its delay to serve the defence counsel with the additional proof of evidence in the ongoing trial of Sowore and Olawale Bakare.
The DSS has 24 hours to also pay the fine, according to the angry judge.
“The failure of the prosecution to carry out the order of the court to serve the defence and in view of this adjournment is at the instance of the prosecution. And in view of section 396 of ACJA, I will award the cost of N100,000 against the prosecution. And in view of the refusal of the prosecution to release the defendant, this court will give the prosecution the next 24 hours to comply with the order of court,” the judge said.
There were unconfirmed reports that the DSS has also paid the fine.
Sowore was granted bail for the second time on October 18, after the DSS did not release him after a previous bail granted the defendant on September 24.
The politician who contested the February 23 presidential election, and Bakare are facing a seven-count charge of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.