Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Adeyinka Olumide Fusika SAN, and Hassan Liman SAN were on Monday morning engaged in heated arguments before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of Federal High Court, Abuja, on the propriety of reading a fresh seven count charge preferred against Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and his codefendant, Olawale Bakare when there’s a subsisting court order releasing them that was not obeyed by the Directorate of State Service (DSS), the security agency that placed them in detention.
Defendants’ lawyer, Olumide-Fusika maintained that the arraignment should not be allowed to proceed because the DSS which has been keeping Sowore in custody since August 3, 2019, had not allowed the defendants to consult with their lawyer after the charges were filed.
He said that the court should also protect its integrity by refusing to allow the arraignment to proceed when the prosecution continued to disobey the court order made on September 24, 2019 for the release by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the same court.
The prosecutor, Liman (SAN) however urged the court to dismiss the objection insisting that what was more important was that the defendants had been served with the charges.
Liman also said the order for the release of the defendants had lapsed since the defendants had been produced in court for arraignment.
The seven count charges bothering on treason, money laundering, and abuse of the President was thereafter read to them and the defendants pleaded not guilty.
The judge refused the oral bail application made by the defendants lawyer that Sowore be allowed to continue the bail granted him by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on September 24 because according to her, the defendants were arraigned on fresh charges.
The trial judge however directed the defendants lawyer to make a written application for bail which she will hear on Friday, October 4, 2019. She also directed that the bail application be served on the prosecutor who had indicated his intention to challenge the bail application.
She further ordered the defendants to be remanded in the DSS custody pending the hearing of the bail application.