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Falana Accuses DSS of Planning to Transfer Sowore to Correctional Center

Human Right Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has accused Department of State Security (DSS) of planning to transfer of Publisher of Sahara Reporter, Omoyele Sowore to Correctional Center in order to detain him indefinitely.

Falana who made this known in a letter dated December 1, written to Attorney General of Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami demanded for the release of Messrs Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare with immediate effect.

He said, “in treating the court order with provocative contempt the State Security Service has insisted on approving the sureries of our clients after they have been verified by the Federal High Court.

“From the information at our disposal there is no precedent whatsoever for the illegal demand. Instead of purging the security agency of such contempt of the Federal High Court the Prosecutor, Dr. Hassan Liman SAN, engaged by your good self to prosecute our clients, has curiously applied to the trial court to have them transferred to a correctional centre and detained indefinitely for having the temerity to question the illegal directive to produce their sureties.”

Falana however threatened to pursue the contempt proceedings which have initiated against Director of DSD, Yususf Bichi if the AGF fail to facilitate release of Sowore and Bakare

He said, “Take notice that if you fail to accede to our request we shall be compelled to carry out the firm instructions of our clients to pursue the contempt proceedings which have been initiated against Mr. Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of the State Security Service.

“In addition, we shall also report your good self and the Prosecutor to the Nigerian Bar Association and the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee for encouraging the State Security Service to treat orders of Nigerian Courts with disdain while you are anxious to obey the orders of British Courts.”

The letter reads in full,

“It was well reported in the print and electronic media last week that upon the posting a bank guarantee of $200 million the federal government has been granted leave to appeal against the judgment of the British Commercial Court in London wherein the sum of $9.6 billion was awarded in favour of P& ID. In celebrating the variation of the Court order to deposit the fund your office stated that “Our application for variation of the order was allowed and we are, as a result, not making cash deposit but posting a bank guarantee. We remain in control of our funds by the act of acceptance of the guarantee. The advantage of the variation in the judgment from direct deposit of cash to posting of bank guarantee is that the money and its control resides in the Federal Government as against if it were otherwise”.

“Before then the Federal Government had paid the costs of £250,000.00 awarded in favour of P & I lD by the same court. You will agree with us that the posting of the said guarantee as well as the payment of costs in favour of P & ID were carried out by your office notwithstanding that the Federal Government is completely dissatisfied with the controversial judgment of the British Commercial Court. But in complying with the orders of the British Court your office has demonstrated to the international community that the Federal Republic of Nigeria operates under the Rule of Law.

” It is however disturbing to note notwithstanding such deference to the Courts of its former colonial master the Federal Government has continued to disobey the valid and subsisting orders of Nigerian courts and the Court of Justice of the Economic Court of West African States including orders for the release of political detainees and criminal suspects from unlawful custody. For instance, the State Security Service has continued to detain our clients, Messrs Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, in defiance of the order of the Federal High Court which has admitted them to bail pending trial.

“In treating the court order with provocative contempt the State Security Service has insisted on approving the sureries of our clients after they have been verified by the Federal High Court. From the information at our disposal there is no precedent whatsoever for the illegal demand. Instead of purging the security agency of such contempt of the Federal High Court the Prosecutor, Dr. Hassan Liman SAN, engaged by your good self to prosecute our clients, has curiously applied to the trial court to have them transferred to a correctional centre and detained indefinitely for having the temerity to question the illegal directive to produce their sureties.

“In view of the fact that the Federal Government has never given any precondition before complying with the orders of the British Court in the case of P & ID and other matters we are compelled to request you to direct the State Security Service to comply with the orders of the Federal High Court for the unconditional release of our clients.

“Take notice that if you fail to accede to our request we shall be compelled to carry out the firm instructions of our clients to pursue the contempt proceedings which have been initiated against Mr. Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of the State Security Service. In addition, we shall also report your good self and the Prosecutor to the Nigerian Bar Association and the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee for encouraging the State Security Service to treat orders of Nigerian Courts with disdain while you are anxious to obey the orders of British Courts!

Yours Sincerely,

Femi Falana SAN, FCI Arb.

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