A prominent pro-democracy and civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the Abuja court that refused to hear the case of Omoyele Sowore regarding his prolonged detention, accusing the courts succumbing to possible pressures from the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and security agencies.
HURIWA said, in a statement on Thursday, there were no justifiable reasons for the psychological and physical torture meted out to Sowore.
It added that the detention of the activist and many other protesters was a grave setback that had adversely affected the enjoyment of the constitutionally-guaranteed freedom enshrined in various international and local statutes.
“The rights group absolutely condemned the cowardice of the courts to continuously deny bail to the Nigerian citizen even when the exercise of bail is at the discretion of the judges and not subject to the whims and caprices of a fast-emerging dictatorship in Abuja, Nigeria” the statement added.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo had ruled that the detention order of Sowore was renewable after the expiration of the first 45 days on September 21.
The DSS had filed an ex parte application to keep Sowore for 90 days to investigate him over his call for ‘revolution’ through the #RevolutionNow protests.
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 only 45 days for the DSS to conclude its investigation.
However, on Wednesday (yesterday) the court declined to hear Sowore’s bail application.
The presiding judge, Justice Nkweonye Maha, claimed she did not have the jurisdiction to review the decision by Justice Taiwo.
The judge said she had no authority to proceed or review the judgment of her colleagues and that she would like to preserve the order of the court.
The National Coordinator of the rights group, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, were quoted as saying in the statement: “The right to bail is intrinsic to the fundamental rights to personal liberty and presumption of innocence provided under sections 35(1) and 36 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 (as amended).”
SaharaReporters, New York