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BREAKING: AGF Orders DSS To Hands-Off Sowore’s Trial, Takes Over Case-File

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Omoyele Sowore

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has ordered the Department of State Service, DSS, to hands-off the prosecution of detained pro-democracy activist and convener of RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore.

The AGF, in a statement that was made available to newsmen by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, on Friday, said he directed the security agency to forward the case file in respect of charge pending against Sowore before the Federal High Court in Abuja, to his office.

Malami further directed the Federal Ministry of Justice to immediately takeover the prosecution of all charges against Sowore, in line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) and 174 (1) (a-c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He said the Federal Government was committed to respecting the sanctity of the rule of law, protecting the virtues of human rights and ensuring speedy dispensation of justice in the matter.

“As part of deliberate efforts to probe emerging issues related to the recent imbroglio related to Omoyele Sowore’s case and for speedy dispensation of justice, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has requested that the case file in respect of charge pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja be forwarded to his office”.

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In the statement Dr. Gwandu said the request for the transfer of the case to the office of the AGF was contained in a letter dated December 11, 2019 and addressed to the Director General of the DSS, National Headquarters, Abuja.

The Solicitor General of the Federation and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice Dayo Apata, SAN, who signed the letter, refereed to an initial letter the DSS wrote to the AGF on September 9, 2019.

According to the statement, Apata’s letter to the secret service, read: “The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice upon a further review of the case has directed the immediate takeover of the prosecution of all charges in respect of Omoyole Sowore by the Federal Ministry of Justice in line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) and 174 (1) (a-c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)”.

It said the letter requested the DSS DG to “promptly forward all the case files” in respect of Omoyele Sowore to the office of the AGF and Minister of Justice.

Sowore, who was the presidential candidate of African Action Congress, AAC, in the last general election and publisher of an online news outlet, Sahara Reporters, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare (aka Mandate), are answering to a seven-count treasonable felony charge.

They were in the charge marked FHC/ ABJ/CR/235/2019, accused of conspiracy, money laundering, cyber-stalking and insulting President Buhari.

Though the defendants perfected all the conditions the court gave for their bail, the DSS declined to release them, claiming that no surety came forward to receive them.

Following a 24 hours ultimatum trial Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu issued for their release, DSS, temporarily freed them from detention last week Thursday.

The agency subsequently re-arrested Sowore the next day within the court premises after his trial was adjourned till February 11, 2020.

Circumstances that surrounded the manner in which he was re-arrested, which involved the invasion of the courtroom by alleged operatives of the DSS, has continued to attract condemnation for the security agency.

Though DSS claimed that its officers were not involved in the court invasion saga, insisting that they waited and arrested Sowore outside the court premises, however, counsel to the defendants, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, insisted that the agency was involved.

Malami earlier disclosed that the Federal Government had commenced its investigation into the matter.

Similarly, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, on Thursday, called for the setting up of an Independent Judicial Commission of Enquiry to unravel those behind the courtroom invasion.

Sowore was arrested on August 2 in Lagos and later transferred to Abuja for prosecution, after he called for a nationwide protest against perceived maladministration by the President Buhari-led government.

Despite his arrest, the protest held in various parts of the country on August 5, with security operatives clamping down on some of the participants. (vanguard)

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kelvin Agbogidi

    December 13, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Rubbish… Release him that is we ask of

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Inside Nigeria

Buhari Signs Prisoner Swap Deal With Macao

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Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday assented to an agreement for the exchange of prisoners between the Nigerian government and the Macao government in China.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.

Adesina disclosed that Buhari signing the bill was an aftermath of deliberations from the Federal Executive Council conclusion on August 1, 2018.

The presidential spokesman said the government had directed Nigeria’s attorney-general justice minister Abubakar Malami to prepare the instrument of ratification of the agreement for the President Buhari’s signature.

“President Buhari’s assent formally executes the Agreement,” Adesina said.

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Inside Nigeria

Nigeria Will End North-East Insurgency Just Like Civil War — Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will soon see the end of the insurgence that has bedeviled the North-Eastern part of the country in the last few years.

He gave the assurance on Friday at the State House in Abuja while receiving the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, saying that Nigeria had seen similar occasions in the past, but managed to overcome and forged on.

The President also assured that the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will effectively manage all attendant crises from the insurgency.

Recalling his experience of the Nigerian Civil War, the President noted that the current security challenge in the North-East, though might take some time, will also be subdued, saying “If we were capable to fight a 30-month civil war and reorganised our country, I wonder why people are thinking that Nigeria cannot do it”.

According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari emphasised the devastating effect of the Libyan crisis on the whole of the Sahel region of the continent, citing the activities of terror groups in Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso in recent times.

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He, however, assured the European Union envoy of Nigeria’s continued cooperation with the EU, saying “I assure you of Nigeria’s commitment to enhance and deepen cooperation with the EU in all areas.

“Our priorities in the next level is to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, are rehabilitated so that livelihood should be established and the children should not lose the opportunity to go back to school, which is very important for the future of that area and Nigeria generally.

“We have the experience of the civil war. I could recall the role of the military, the army, each commander had in his pocket how to behave himself and how to allow international bodies like yourself to go round and see for themselves that people are treated in the most humane way. We have this experience and I assure you that we also have this confidence in your organisation. That is why I feel that Nigeria is capable of handling this crisis, it may take long but we are capable of handling it.

“The important thing really is weapons reaching the Sahel; the instability it is causing. Look at the casualties in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali; Libya has a direct impact on the stability of the Sahel. As for Boko Haram, we try to disabuse the mind of the people and I think our people now understand the basic dishonesty in it. With my experience personally in the civil war, I am sure we will get over it.

“I assure you that we are aware of these problems and we will continue to do our best. The newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is coordinating NEMA and others, to make sure that whatever resources we get are well utilised. The ministry will be accountable to the government instead of having too many bodies doing the same thing. We are also reaching out to foreign countries explaining to them our position, and we are confident we will get over it”, the President said.

The EU Commissioner emphasized that Nigeria plays a big role in the African continent and globally in economic, social and other spheres and asked for the development of a plan between the EU and Nigeria concerning the issues in the Northeast. He said he had visited Borno State and appreciates government’s efforts to end the conflict there.

“We would like to support your efforts. We believe all relevant actors; military, civilian as well as humanitarian should come together. The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is suggesting such high level dialogue.

“In situations such as what we have in the northeast, international law and international humanitarian law should apply. We believe in your efforts to end the conflict; military effort alone probably will not be sufficient without identifying and addressing the socio-economic factors causing it,“ he stated.

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Inside Nigeria

I Never Said Amotekun Is Illegal — Malami

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Abubakar Malami

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has denied declaring the South-West regional security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ illegal.

He stated he was misquoted on his interpretation of the outfit established by the six South West Governors.

Responding to chat on Radio Nigeria Abuja on Thursday morning, Malami said: “I was misinterpreted on Operation Amotekun. I did not say it’s illegal.

“I said the Operation Amotekun should be properly backed by law, so if at the end of this government, if the operation has been backed by law, any government that eventually succeeded this government would not rubbish the operation.

“I said if they failed to enact a law in support of Amotekun in the South-West Region of Nigeria, another government can come and say it’s illegal and this is because it is not backed up by any law.

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“So, it is just a piece of advice to the state governors to use their power and the State Houses of Assembly in their various states to enact a law that will make the operation more effective.”

However his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, maintained that the constitution did not recognise regional security outfit.

Gwandu quoted Malami as insisting that regional security architectural arrangement by states was not tolerated by the constitution.

The minister said: “The planning, execution, consummation of whatever security arrangement must be naturally grounded in law, rooted in the constitution and tolerated by the law.

“For any arrangement to stand within the law, the bottom line is that constitutionality and legality must be factored.

Read Also: Ondo Obas to SW Governors: Begin Operation Amotekun now
“Provided that there is an aberration relating to constitutional compliance, I think the right thing to do is to ensure constitutionality and legality both in spirit, planning, concept, and consummation.

“If you are talking of regional arrangement, for example, at what point did the state assemblies come together as a region for the purpose of coming up with a statue or a law that can operate within the context of the constitution, taking into consideration the federating arrangement that does not allow or tolerate a regional state House of Assembly arrangement.

“You cannot independently, unilaterally operate in the provision of the constitution without recourse to the constitutional authority that is the bottom line.

“Working together, helping the Federal Government in the provision of security is indeed a welcome development but it has to be rooted in the law and within the context of working arrangement with institutions constitutionally established and not a unilateral exclusive arrangement by a regional body.

“In the circumstances of Amotekun, it is the idea of unilateral control that it is the problem without recourse to the institutional and constitutional arrangement that is put in place by our constitution.

“You can indeed provide whatever support and consideration but definitely it must be rooted in the constitutional arrangement and so self-help by way of unilateral arrangement cannot be tolerated with particular reference to a regional arrangement which is not rooted in the constitution within the context of security.”

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