DEPARTMENT of State Services (DSS) officials have revealed that they have refused to release former presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore from detention despite a court order instructing them to do so because of fears that he may be run over by a car.
In August, men of the Department DSS 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 charged to court and in September, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu imposed a N100m bail bond on Mr Sowore while his co-defendant Olawale Bakare got N50m, following charges of treasonable felony levelled against them.
Both men were arraigned on a seven-count charge of treasonable felony, cyberstalking and money laundering. Last month, however, Mr Sowore’s lawyers successfully appealed the Draconian terms imposed when he was first detained in August and Justice Ojukwu reduced his bail bond to N50m from N100m, while Mr Bakare’s bail was reduced to N20m from N50m.
Despite Mr Sowore meeting the bail conditions earlier this month, the DSS have refused to release him from custody and he decided to protest this by embarking on an indefinite hunger strike. According to the DSS, they have refused to release him because of fears that he may be knocked down by a vehicle on his way out of their detention facility.
DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, said: “We cannot just release Sowore and ask him to go because he may be knocked down by a vehicle at the gate. We respect rules and orders of the court and there was never a time the director-general said he would not release Sowore.”
Pointing out that Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana, was yet to come forward and fetch him from their facility, Mr Afunanya said he had not been to the headquarters of the service since the activist was granted bail. He maintained that the secret police was following administrative procedures by insisting that Mr Sowore’s sureties come forward for proper documentation.
A few weeks ago, a group of protesters led by Deji Adeyanju alleged that they were given N1m to stop the protest demanding Mr Sowore’s release. Despite claims by the DSS that it will release Mr Sowore if his sureties come forward for documentation, all attempts to get him freed have been rebuffed.