…says N100m bail fee, deposit of N50 million impossible
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Friday, condemned the stringent bail conditions given to the Founder of Sahara Reporters and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore by a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Convener, CN, Prince Deji Adeyanju while reacting to the bail conditions by the court in Abuja.
The group said the bail condition of N100 million and deposit of N50 million were impossible because it was intentional and unacceptable.
The statement reads in part,” Concerned Nigerians in strong terms condemn the stringent bail conditions imposed on Sahara Reporters’ founder and Former Presidential candidate of AAC, Omoyele Sowore.
“It will be recalled that Mr. Omoyele Sowore earlier today, was granted bail by the Federal High Court with some stringent bail conditions which state: The publisher and former Presidential candidate must not travel out of Abuja, the Nation’s capital and N100 million and two sureties. One of the sureties must own landed property and a deposit of N50 million.
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“These conditions are not just callous but an attempt to keep detaining Sowore and deny him of his fundamental right of movement.
“It makes a mockery of our judicial system if the said offense allegedly committed by Omoyele Sowore would attract such conditions while the politicians who looted and still looting our commonwealth will be given a light bail.
“It is unthinkable that a court of law while granting bail to the defendant will give a condition that violates his fundamental human right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under section 39 of our constitution by saying that he must not grant interview or speak to the press.
“The court went further to violate section 41 of our constitution which guarantees freedom of movement for citizens by restricting his movement within Abuja. This travesty of justice must be condemned by all and sundry.
“We understand that it is the nature of the offence that determines the bail that is given to a defendant, but in Sowore’s case, it is ridiculous and laughable. Bail must be exercised judiciously and judicially in order not to undermine the right of the defendant.
“Sowore as explicitly spelled out in Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution is still presumed innocent of all the trump up charges until proven otherwise.”
The group also expressed sadness over alleged failing and reckless executive oppression on the legislative and judiciary arms of government.
“We are saddened that 59 years after, Nigeria’s current reality is a failing and reckless executive with a pushover judiciary and a namby-pamby legislative arm that is willing to do the biddings of the executive”, it added.