By Henry Ojelu
HUMAN rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said, on Thursday, that the Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu’s account of the secret meeting between his client, Omoyele Sowore, and a delegation led by late Ismaila Funta, while in detention of the Department of State Services, DSS, was full of falsifications.
Falana, in a statement, accused Shehu of attempting to distort the proceedings of the meetings.
The statement read: “Mr. Garba Shehu has continued to give the highly erroneous impression that the deal struck with the captive was frustrated by his lawyer. Mr. Shehu’s memory failed him in his jejune narrative.
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“Mr. Shehu ought to have published the terms of the ‘resolution’ which he claimed that Mr. Sowore had accepted instead of blaming the collapse of the ‘fence-mending process’ on the intransigence of his lawyer ‘whoever that was (sic)’.
“I confirm that I held a meeting with the trio referred to by Mr. Shehu, even though he did not mention my name.
“Hence, I am compelled to react to a couple of issues raised in his incendiary account. More so that he did not attend the Lagos meeting.
“For reasons best known to Mr. Shehu, he refused to inform the Nigerian people that I rejected the gratuitous request to prevail on Mr. Sowore to apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari and write an undertaking to desist from further embarrassing the Federal Government.
“Apart from insisting that my client had committed no offence by exercising his freedom of expression over the perilous state of the nation, I expressed my personal agony over the request because I won the legal battle wherein the Court of Appeal had upheld the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to protest against the government without a police permit.
“Mr. Shehu ought to have equally disclosed that I demanded the unconditional release of my client from the unlawful incarceration of the DSS.
“In fact, when the late Alhaji Isa Funtua said rather condescendingly at the Lagos meeting that the regime in power could not be defeated, I was quick to remind him that the Nigerian people had defeated military dictators to pave way for the current civilian dispensation.”
The senior lawyer said it is interesting to note that he teamed up with other patriots in 2006 to campaign for the release of Shehu, who was then spokesperson of former Vice-President Atiku Abukakar.
Shehu was detained by the DSS and charged with the offence of “obtaining, reproducing and keeping classified material” in contravention of the Official Secrets Act.
“In like manner, the charge of a treasonable felony which is hanging menacingly on the head of Mr. Omoyele Sowore like a sword of Damocles will also be struck out in his favour in the fullness of time,” Falana stated