The federal government has ordered the release of former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki alongside embattled convener of the RevolutionNow movement Omoyele Sowore from detention.
This order is contained in a statement issued by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami.
Malami’s said the decision is in compliance with the court order, that both Dasuki and Sowore be released on bail.
This development is coming a day after the protest by a coalition of civil society groups which resulted in a faceoff between the pro-Buhari protesters and the Civil Society Groups, in which convener of the concerned Nigerian group, Deji Adeyanju was assaulted by suspected hoodlums.
The federal Governor in a statement said:
“The office of the honourable Attorney General of the Federation has reviewed the pending criminal charges against the duo Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Omoyele Sowore.
“while 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 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 would be recalled that Dasuki, who served under the Goodluck Jonathan administration was arrested on the First of December 2015, by the Department of States Services, after he was indicted by a panel investigating the procurement of arms for allegedly stealing $2.1 billion dollars and awarding contracts for the purchase of twelve helicopters, four fighter jets and ammunition meant for the Military to fight Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the North East region of Nigeria for over a decade. He was also charged for possessing illegal weapons.
Dasuki has been in detention for over four years, although released on bail by the court, the federal government put him under house arrest despite been given a medical leave to allow him to travel for cancer treatment. Dasuki is said to one of the officers who incumbent President MUhammadu Buhari when he was military head of states over 30 years ago.
Former Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the 2019 presidential election was arrested and detained by the Department of States Service on the 3rd of August 2019, a day to his planned RevolutionNow protest across major cities in the country. He was charged for money laundering, treason and insulting the President.
The continued detention of publisher of Sahara reporters, an online media platform was greeted with condemnation from well-meaning Nigerians like Wole Soyinka, Oby Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesufu and many civil society groups.
The U.S Factor
Following the re-arrest of Sowore barely 24-hours after the DSS honoured the bail order, two notable lawmakers from the United States of America condemned President Buhari led government for disobeying court orders.
A Senator from New Jersey, Bob Menendez criticised Buhari saying the controversial arrest of the activist is “unacceptable in a country that calls itself a democracy”.
On her part, Karen Brass, also a congress member in the United States called for the intervention of the African Union and United Nations in the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore by the Nigerian Government with all charges against him dropped.
Bass, who represents 37th District of California, in a statement, acknowledged that Sowore had the right to exercise freedom of expression and protest for change in a peaceful manner.