#RevolutionNow: Court Commences Hearing Of Sowore’s Motion On Bail Condition
The hearing in a motion filed by the convener of the #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, seeking a variation in his bail conditions has commenced.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had on October 4 granted bail to Mr Sowore to the tune of N100 million and two sureties in like sum.
Other conditions included that he must deposit his travel documents and also not leave Abuja without the court’s permission during the pendency of his case.
At the commencement of the hearing on Monday, his counsel, Mr Femi Falana, informed the court of the motion seeking a variation of the bail conditions.
He noted that the motion is being supported by a four-paragraph affidavit, a written address and an exhibit which is the ruling of the court granting bail.
He further stated that the application is to pray the court to vary the conditions for the bail of his client with respect to a condition which requires one of the sureties to deposit 50 million.
He referred the court to the case of Colonel Dasuki where the court imposed the same conditions and the appeal court ruled that the condition was excessive.
According to him, the appeal court held that in a situation where bail can be granted, it should not be unworkable, unbearable and difficult to meet.
He also referred to the ruling of Justice Taiwo Taiwo where the court asked that he is released to Mr Falana, and his passport is deposited, adding that that order has not been set aside.
According to him, the prosecution has disobeyed this order without any explanation.
With respect to the order restricting him to Abuja, Falana said Sowore has no house in Abuja but has one in Lagos.
He added that there is no counter-affidavit challenging the claim of the applicant.
Mr Falana said the court had granted bail 17 days ago and all efforts to meet it have failed because of the stringency of the conditions.
He added that the applicant teaches at a college of visual arts in the United States and is also a journalist who needs to earn a living during the pendency of the case.
He also referred the court to the case of Mr Jones Abiri where the court reviewed the bail conditions to enable him meet bail.
According to him, the applicant in that case was facing a capital offence and the court still varied it.
Responding to the arguments, the prosecutor Mr Hassan Liman said the application has no affidavit as the facts on the affidavit are information extracted from the applicant and not the person who deposed to the affidavit.
He argued that the deponent is Akin Sowore who was never at the facility of the State Security Service.
Mr Liman further stated that the affidavit in the further motion was deposed by one Marshal Abubakar who said he was at the facility of the DSS.
He added that having shown the court that the deponents of the affidavit did not go to the DSS facility, the motion was not valid because there was no affidavit backing it.
He, therefore asked that the application be dismissed for having no valid affidavit.
The prosecutor also noted that the evidence attached was not sufficient to prove that he is a teacher in the United States.
Furthermore, he stated that assuming the court agrees that the motion is valid, the court should in the alternative hold that the cases cited by the applicant are inapplicable in this case.
According to him, this is a different case because the applicant has not even met the bail conditions
He also told the court that having chanted revolution after the hearing if his case on the day of arraignment such a person should not be allowed to address the media or partake on any rally.
On the issue that he was granted bail by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, Mr Liman said that the case at that time was on whether or not the defendant can remain in the custody of the DSS and that order was made before arraignment.
Liman maintained that Sowore was arraigned on the 30th of September and later granted bail, but the bail has now been overtaken by events.
According to him, what the court needs to decide on now, is whether or not the applicant has satisfied the condition to merit a variation in bail conditions.
Responding on points of law, Mr Falana said Section 45 deals with national security and there is nothing in this case that has a bearing on national security.
He maintained that using the word ‘Revolution’ as stated by the prosecution, has nothing to do with national security as even the president has used the word in the past and it is in the record of court.
After listening to the arguments, the trial judge varied the bail conditions as far as it concerns the payment of N50 million bail security.
She reduced the bail bond for Mr Olawale Bakare to N30 million and one surety in like sum.
The trial judge, however, said that all other aspects of the bail conditions which include that the defendants must not speak to the media and must remain in Abuja, still stand.
She also maintained the bail sum for Mr Sowore which was put at N100 million with two sureties in like sum.