BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – There is no respite in sight for the embattled publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, as the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the Department State Service (DSS) permission to detain him for 45 days.
The DSS had filed a motion requesting an order to detain the convener of the proposed #RevolutionNow protest for 90 days, but the Court only slashed the number to 45 days.
In approaching the Court on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 for permission to keep Sowore in their custody for investigation over his ‘RevolutionNow’ protests that partially held in some States on Monday, the Nigerian Secret Service anchored its application on the provision of section 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act.
Ruling on the ex-parte application, without counter-argument by Sowore’s legal team, Justice Taiwo, said he is granting the application, “only to the extent” of allowing the security agency to keep the respondent in custody for only 45 days for the applicant to conclude its investigation.
According to him, though hearing of the application was one-sided as provided by 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act, the use of the word, “may”, in the provision “is directory” and not “discretionary”.
The Judge maintained that he would, therefore, be failing in his duty not to grant the request for a detention order.
However, he also said that should the applicant require more time to conclude its investigation after the expiration of the first 45 days, it is at liberty to apply for the renewal of the existing order.
Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 23 polls, was whisked away by DSS team at his resident in the weekend of August 2 for what the Security outfit termed ‘treasonable’ statement, in describing the proposed protest as a revolution.
Mixed reactions have continued to trail his arrest and that of several other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) members who were part of the demonstrations.
Born on February 16, 1971, Sowore has been a Nigerian human Rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner, former and founder of online news agency, Sahara Reporters