Federal High Court adjourns the matter

Federal High Court Threatens to Strike Out Treasonable Felony Case Against Omoyele Sowore

A judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Emeka Nwite, on Wednesday, threatened to strike out the treasonable felony charge filed against Sahara Reporters publisher and human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore.

The judge issued the warning over what he perceived to be a lack of preparation by the prosecution.

Judge Nwite’s dissatisfaction stems from what he perceives as a deficiency in the prosecution’s readiness for the case. The legal process demands meticulous preparation, ensuring that all aspects of the case are thoroughly examined and presented. The judge’s warning underscores the importance of upholding the principles of justice and a fair trial.

The charge of treasonable felony is a serious allegation that implies an individual’s involvement in acts aimed at overthrowing the government. In Sowore’s case, the specifics of the charges need to be examined closely to understand the gravity of the accusations against him. This includes an exploration of the events leading up to the charge and the legal basis for the allegations.

Omoyele Sowore is no stranger to controversy, having been a prominent figure in the Nigerian human rights landscape. As the publisher of Sahara Reporters, an online news platform known for its investigative journalism, Sowore has consistently advocated for transparency, accountability, and good governance. His activism has often put him at odds with the authorities, raising questions about whether the charges against him are politically motivated.

The judge issued the warning over what he perceived to be a lack of preparation by the prosecution

The matter was slated for re-arraignment of the defendants, but when the matter was called, only Mr. Sowore, a former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), was present in court. His co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was absent.

The prosecuting counsel, Mariam Okorie, confirmed that the court had ordered that the hearing notice for the arraignment be served on Mr. Bakare. She, however, said that she was not aware if Mr. Bakare had been served with the notice.

The registrar of the court, however, confirmed that Mr. Bakare had not been served.

Counsel for Sowore, Marshall Abubakar, told the court that he believed the prosecution was only trying to frustrate his client by its inability to serve the second defendant with a hearing notice for him to appear in court.

Mr. Abubakar told the court that he had written a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice asking that the charge be severed so that his client could take his plea and stand trial alone.

”My lord, this is the fifth year since this charge was filed. The defendant has been denied access to his family since then because he has not been allowed to travel outside the country where his family lives.

“You cannot continually and perpetually hold the man under suspicion that he committed a crime, and so we will apply that this case be struck out until the prosecution is ready to prosecute it,” Mr Abubakar said.

The prosecuting counsel told the court that since they had written to the minister, they would have to wait for the minister’s response to know the next line of action.

Mr. Nwite ruled that he was minded to grant an adjournment on the condition that by the next adjourned date, the prosecution should comply with the order of the court to serve the second defendant.

The judge warned that if the order of the court to serve the second defendant was not complied with, the matter would be struck out.

“If you are not ready to go on with the matter, I am sounding this as the last warning that at the next adjourned date, I will strike out the matter, and even if heaven falls, let it fall,” the judge said.

He adjourned the matter until December 5.

The federal government charged Sowore and Bakare with allegations of treasonable felony and attempts to overthrow the former president.

The then President Muhammadu Buhari administration filed the charges against Mr Sowore and his co-defendant following the 2019 #RevolutionNow protest they organised against bad governance and maladministration.

The prosecution accused the defendants of trying to topple the government.

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