STATE Security Service (SSS) officials have secured a high court ruling permitting them to detain Sahara Reporters publisher and former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore for 45 days.
On Saturday, the SSS picked up Mr Sowore in Lagos as he was planning to organise a series of nationwide demonstrations under the banner #RevolutionNow. He has since been moved to the SSS headquarters in Abuja and on Monday the federal government asked for a court order to detain him for 90 days but this request was denied by the Abuja Federal High Court.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had accused Mr Sowore of committing a treasonable act for calling on Nigerians to pour out on the streets on August 5 to protest against his government’s failure to improve the living conditions of Nigerians. Many of the protesters, who took to the streets in major cities across the country on Monday in defiance of the arrest, were harassed and arrested by security operatives.
In its application made on Monday, the federal government, through the SSS, claimed that the 90-day window would enable it to conclude investigations into acts of terrorism it is accusing Mr Sowore of. However, his lawyer Femi Falana, has warned that President Buhari will be his first witness in court if the DSS arraigns Mr Sowore, in court.
This morning, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja granted the SSS permission to detain Mr Sowore for questioning until September 21. Ruling on the ex-parte application, a one-sided request by the SSS without any counter-argument by Mr Sowore’s legal team, Justice Taiwo, said he had to grant the application, only to the extent of allowing the security agency to keep the respondent in custody for 45 days to conclude its investigations.
He said, however, the hearing of the application was one-sided as provided by 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act. Justice Taiwo added that should the applicant require more time to conclude its investigation after the expiration of the first 45 days, it had the liberty to apply for a renewal.