From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
An Abuja Chief Magistrate Court on Monday granted bail to the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore in the sum of N20m and two sureties in like sum.
The court equally admitted Juwon Sanyaolu, Peter Williams, Emmanuel Bulus, and Damilare Adenola who were arrested along with Sowore to bail to the sum of N1m bail each.
They were arrested on the New Year Eve in Abuja for organizing and holding a protest and charged with alleged conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and inciting public disturbance.
Chief Magistrate Mabel Segun-Bello while ruling on the bail application on Monday admitted Sowore to bail in the sum of N20million and two sureties in like sum.
The court also ordered Sowore to remain in Abuja and must physically report to the court registrar every Monday and Friday pending the hearing and determination of the case against him.
The court further ordered that one of his sureties must be a civil servant not below grade level 12.
Sowore, who was the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), in the last general election and publisher of an online news outlet, Sahara Reporters, was arrested on New Year’s Eve for leading a protest against bad governance in the country.
Police had in a three-count charge it entered before the court, alleged that the Defendants were arrested with placards that called for a violent revolution against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The charge, to which they all pleaded not guilty bordered on criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and their alleged attempt to incite a public disturbance.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has ordered the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Police Command, to hands-off trial of convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr. Omoleye Sowore.
Already, the AGF has directed Police to handover the case-file to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, at the Federal Ministry of Justice.
This was confirmed by counsel to the Defendants, Mr. Marshal Abubakar, who told Journalists at the court premises that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, DIG, had on the order of the AGF, retrieved the case-file from the FCT Police Command.
According to Marshal who alleged that there was confusion among the prosecuting team: “This morning, we reached out to the authorities to bring the Defendants to court to listen to the terms and conditions upon which bail would be considered.
“But we were informed and shown copies of documents from the office of the DIG requesting for the case file of Omoyele Sowore from the office of the Commissioner of police FCT Abuja.
“Now we were told reliably that the office of the Commissioner of Police transfered the case-file to the office of the DIG yesterday.
“In service, the moment you request for the case-file of a suspect and the case-file was officially transferred to you, it is assumed that you have taken over responsibility of that particular matter.
“When I spoke to the CP this morning and the prosecutors and the IPO, they did informed me that the FCIID has taken over the matter officially. So on that basis, they said they don’t have a vehicle to convey Sowore and the other Defendants to court.
“We took our time to reach out to the authorities of the FCIID. We asked them that since they have taken over this case-file, how would the Defendants be brought to court to listen to their bail application.
“And they said it is not in their place and they are not interested in Sowore’s case because of the political nature of that matter.
“This morning, they also brought before the court, another signal from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation mandating the office of the DPP to take over the case-file from the police.
“This means that the DPP are now responsible for prosecuting this particular case.
“The court has also requested that since the ruling is for the Defendant, it is expedient that they are brought to court to listen to the order”, he added.