DSS cannot report Justice Taiwo Taiwo to the NJC for granting bail to Sowore-Falana
The lawyer representing the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, says the State Security Service (SSS) cannot report Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for granting bail to the publisher.
In a statement made available to zolexreporters.net, Femi Falana said Justice Taiwo only exercised his discretion judicially in an application for the bail of a citizen.
The senior counsel also said the SSS cannot complain against the handling of the case by Justice Taiwo who did not entertain the agency’s application to extend Mr Sowore’s detention.
The Nation newspaper on Saturday had reported that the SSS was set to take Mr Taiwo to the NJC for granting Mr Sowore bail. The paper quoted unnamed sources.
In his reaction, Mr Falana said the report by the newspaper was misleading as the quotes in the report were not credited to any named official of the SSS but to some anonymous sources.
Mr Falana urged Nigerians to disregard the report.
“I have since confirmed that the fictitious report is a figment of the fecund imagination of the writer, Mr Akuntunde. Hence, the report and the quotes therein were not credited to any named official of the SSS but to some anonymous sources,” Mr Falana said.
He described the report as a desperate bid to divert public attention from the contemptuous conduct of the SSS, which he said hurriedly pressurised the Federal High Court to assign the case for the arraignment of Mr Sowore.
“From the information at our disposal, the report was designed by The Nation to blackmail and intimidate the Judges of the Federal High Court with respect to the trial of Mr Sowore.”
“I wish to state without any fear of contradiction, that the Federal High Court is competent to admit a person charged with a capital offence to bail by virtue of section 161 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.”
Mr Falana said Mr Sowore has not been charged with capital offence contrary to the position of the SSS and The Nation newspaper.
“Treasonable felony is not a capital offence under section 41 of the Criminal Code. Even under the most brutal dictatorial regimes in Nigeria, our courts did not hesitate to uphold the fundamental right of the victims of repression to personal liberty, including those who were charged with treasonable felony,” he added.
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, the SSS cannot complain against the handling of the case by Justice Taiwo who did not even entertain our application to quash the order for Mr Sowore’s detention for 45 days.”
Mr Falana said it was due to the fact that the SSS counsel, Godwin Agbadua, withdrew his motion ex parte for an order to further detain Mr Sowore for additional 20 days that led to the judge granting him bail