The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami has explained the rationale behind the Federal Government’s decision to release former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and Publisher of Sahara Reporters and activist, Omoyele Sowore after both men have held despite fulfilling stringent bail conditions.
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, says it is the best public relations job for the present administration in 2019.
Dasuki has been held for four years, while Sowore, facing reasonable felony charges, has been held since August. The #RevolutionNow organiser was released at about 6.20 p.m.
Dasuki was released about an hour later.
No mention was made of another detainee, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, held despite being granted bail by the courts.
In a statement he signed on Tuesday, Malami said: “The Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation has reviewed the pending criminal charges against the duo of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Omoyele Sowore. Whilst the Federal High Court has exercised its discretion in granting bail to the Defendants in respect of the charges against them, I am also not unmindful of the right of the Complainant/Prosecution to appeal or further challenge the grant of bail by the court having regards to extant legal provisions, particularly Section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. However, my Office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts.
“In line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and in compliance with the bail granted to Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release.
“The two Defendants are enjoined to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land.
“I wish to reiterate again the utmost regard of my Office for the entire judicial structure of Nigeria. This administration remains unrelenting in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general.”
It is the best PR job for Buhari in 2019, says Ekweremadu; Ozekhome, Hon react
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has said the release of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowere from custody is the best public relations job done for Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2019.
“Although we should never have travelled this road in the first place, the intervention of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the directive for the immediate release of Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowere come as a big relief for the nation’s democracy and will a long way to restore confidence in the sanctity of the judiciary and its place as the last hope of the common man” he said.
He commended media and the civil society, and especially Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for directing the immediate release of the men, noting that the move would go a long way in rebuilding the confidence of Nigerians and the international community in the nation’s democracy.
Said Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, who has serially engages the administration in the courts of public opinion and law over its policies and positions: “The order by the Federal government through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, for the immediate release of Colonel Sabo Dasuki who has been in detention for about four years,and Omoyele Sowore,who has been detained since August,2019, is salutary for democracy, respect for fundamental rights of the citizens and observance of rule of law. I am happy the government has finally realised its faux pas and is seeing the same light which I saw since 2015, when I kicked against the illegal incarceration of Dasuki. It is never too late to take corrective measures and make amends.
There is nothing like something good happening at a bad time, or something bad happening at a good time. This government is beginning to see the importance of the rule of Law prevailing over rule of the thumb and over so called national security, which is an euphemism for security of a government in power. The government should add El-zakzaky to the list of detainees to be released, because the whole world, aside government apologists and grovellers, see all of them as political prisoners.
Respect for rule of law and citizens’ fundamental rights constitute some of the key building blocks of democracy. Obedience to court orders, however distasteful, constitue the irreducible minimum of a civilised nation. The government should build on this fresh air of freedom to stop tormenting Nigerians with maximum fear and subjugation, making them discuss in whispers and walking sumnabulistically like Ayi Kwei Armah’s “the living dead”.
I thank Mr President. I commend the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami,SAN, for this democratic gesture.
Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sebastian Hon said: “Although belated, it is a welcome development. The continued detention of these fellows and other political prisoners continues to be detestable, being actions taken in flagrant violation of court orders. The axiom is that the Judiciary is the last hope of the common. Any person, government or institution that carries on as if they are a law unto themselves is headed for imminent self-immolation.
The rash of both local and foreign condemnation of government’s actions, no doubt, led to this impromptu order of release from custody. This is a welcome sign that the world is a global village, where physical boundaries become mere normative or nominal demarcations.
Nigerians are suffering and groaning under the weight of the harshest economic policies and an extremely precarious security reality; but the government pretends not to be aware. In such situations of abject poverty and exposure to avoidable security snares, open confrontation and conflagration are always ready alternatives for the restive citizenry. This is where we are today.
Unfortunately, anybody who tells truth to power is labelled an enemy. But the truth cannot be suppressed forever. Now, all political prisoners should similarly be released. El-ZakZaky should also be released forthwith. Impunity, nepotism and abuse of power should cease from the seat of power. With these done, Nigeria, which is now a pariah nation, may bounce back to life.