EXCLUSIVE: Sowore Bail Conditions Harsh - Lawyer
Constitutional Lawyer, Malaki Ogunmadu has described the bail terms set for the convener of #RevolutionNow protest Mr Omoyele Sowore as “strident and almost impossible to fulfil.”
Ogunmadu made this known in an interview on 99.3 Nigeria Info FM.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had granted bail to Sowore in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum. The judge also barred him from travelling out of Abuja.
Reacting to the bail conditions set by the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, Ogunmadu said bail “is never done to punish the person; it is to take measures concrete enough to secure his attendance in court at any time when he or she is needed.”
Ogunmadu, who is also a member of the legal team representing Sowore noted that “bail is usually granted to secure a situation in which the defendant is able to attend the proceedings of the court at any time when he is needed.”
“So, if you’re going to grant a bail condition that is practically impossible to fulfil, then it means you have started punishing the person without saying so.”
“Everyone who knows Sowore in Nigeria will know that his locus and base is in Lagos and therefore if you’re going to circumscribe his bail application around Abuja metropolis, the next question will be who provides the facility or the accommodation or hotel for as long as the trial lasts?”
“Make no mistake about it, criminal trials in Nigeria are noted to have lasted well over three-four years,” he added “and if it goes on appeal and to the Supreme Court, we’re talking about the region of eight to twelve years.”
Sowore was arrested on August 3rd, 2019 after calling for a nationwide protest the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. He was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja last week but the DSS insisted that it had not received a copy of the bail.
Ogunmadu, however, hinted that Lead Counsel to Sowore, Femi Falana would put forward an application to review the bail terms given today.
“There is what we call variation of bail terms, if you find that a bail condition or bail conditions are so strident and almost impossible to fulfil, then you can come before the same court with an application seeking for the variation of the same bail terms.”
He cautioned that if the Federal government refused to obey this court order “it will gradually begin to announce to the Nigerian people albeit the international community that we are coming to the last bus stop before anarchy.”
“Any country or institution of government or state actors that flagrantly or arbitrarily disobeys court orders is inviting self-help and self-help and disobedience of court order are the closet bus stop before anarchy and I think, I pray we don’t get to that place.”