FG arraigns Sowore, Bakare
The Federal Government has arraigned the duo of Mr Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare
The duo are arraigned on seven count charges bordering on alleged conspiracy to commit treason, money laundering, and insulting the President, among others.
They were brought to the court on Monday by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
However, counsel to Sowore and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, was absent in court.
The arraignment comes one week after Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered the release of Mr Sowore, more than five days after a detention order the judge issued against him elapsed.
The defendants’ counsel informed the court that on September 24, the Federal High Court made the following orders:
That the respondent be released forthwith but he must deposit his travel document with this court within 48 hours with the court, and that the defendant must be released to Mr Femi Falana forthwith and that Mr Falana must produce him whenever it is time for his trial.
Olumide, however, says he is taking aback by the statement of the prosecutor. He said his colleague cannot stand up and tell the court that he cannot have his opinion added.
He insisted that it is not another court but the Federal High Court which granted an order of release and the case is the same as the one before the court.
Liman said if Olumide is talking about not having access to his client, that is okay but nothing else that is not before the court can be brought forward.
Olumide was cut short by Liman who also addressed the court. According to the prosecutor, the business of the court is arraignment and the proceedings in another court have no business in the matter of the court.
He said this is the first time the defendants are being arraigned and the history at another court should not be allowed to create the impression that something else has happened.
The second reason the court ought not to allow the arraignment today, according to the defendants’ counsel, is that their appearance today has a history.
He said Falana was at that office until 10:30 PM on Friday, adding that he only read about the arraignment on the newspaper.
Olumide said while it is true that the defendants were served on September 20, it is only in this court that one of the defendants asked him what is served on him, as he is seeing it for the first time and the opportunity for a consultation has not happened.
He adds that it was only on Sunday that Mr Falana called him to inform him of his being outside Nigeria and appealed to him to hold his brief.
He adds that the information Falana gave to him was that throughout last week, he was resuming and closing at the office of the DSS and was denied access to the defendants.
Olumide explains that the first, being that it is part of a process of arraignment for the defendants to have access to their lawyers who will go through the charge and advise then on what steps to take.
However, counsel to the defendants said that his clients are not in any position to take their plea this morning. He Mr Liman informed the court that the case is set for arraignment and since the first and second defendant are in court and have been served with the charge on September 20, 2019, the government is ready to arraign them.
He said he was holding the brief of Mr Femi Falana who is unable to be in court this morning.
Counsel to Sowore, A. Olumide, also announced his appearance.
The prosecutor, Mr Hassan Liman, announced his appearance on behalf of the Federal Government.
The case has been called while Sowore and Bakare are in the dock.
The judge returns to court.
Journalists were asked to leave the court, but were eventually allowed to stay.
Sowore was greeted by his supporters who did not realise that the trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had arrived, forcing the judge to return to chambers.
Mr Sowore arrives in court in company with his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare.