There was pandemonium at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday when about 15 operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) rearrested the convener of the RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, after the close of the Friday’s proceedings which the judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had adjourned till February 11.
Before Sowore was able to leave the court, operatives of the DSS invaded the courtroom to effect the arrest. They however met stiff resistance from his supporters who tried in vain to resist the operatives. Staff of the court immediately took to their heels.
The stampede disrupted the next proceeding which Justice Ojukwu was conducting, forcing her to suspend sitting. She directed that the rest of the cases on her list for the day should be adjourned.
Sowore’s lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), described the development as a “horrendous, bizarre, and barbaric contempt of court never witnessed under “even the most brutal of past dictators that had ever ruled Nigeria. Under the military regime, the so-called enemies of the government would not be arrested in the web of the court which is considered a sanctuary.
“The military regimes would always show some respect for the court and would only arrest after the person left the court premises. What we have witnessed today is alien to Nigeria.”
He said Sowore’s co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare, could be rearrested too.
Falana said at a meeting which Justice Ojukwu called to be held in her chambers with him and the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), the judge “expressed dismay” over the development as she said, “she was made to flee her court”.
After he was brought out of court, the DSS officials allowed Sowore to be driven to their office by his lawyer, Femi Falana, under the armed escort of DSS vehicles and officials.
It would be recalled that Sowore was arrested on August 3 ahead of a protest he was promoting and was only released Thursday evening after Justice Ojukwu court ordered the DSS to release him within 24 hours.
Sowore is facing charges of treasonable felony and cyber-stalking brought against him by the government. Business Hallmark learnt from sources inside the DSS that Sowore is to be arraigned on fresh charges.