Judge’s absence stalls Sowore’s trial at Fed High Court
NEWS DIGEST–The trial of Convener of the foiled ‘#RevolutionNow protest’, Omoyele Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was scheduled to begin today but the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, stalled the trial.
The case has been adjourned till Wednesday.
At 9 a.m. when the News Agency of Nigeria visited Court 7 on the fourth floor of the building, the courtroom was empty aside from the court registrar and few workers doing their official assignment.
On the cause list attendance, Sowore’s case with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CR/956/2019 was on item nine according to the serial number.
An inquiry made by NAN on why the matter could not be heard today revealed that Justice Ijeoma was said to be sitting outside the court’s division.
Sowore and Bakare were, on December 24, 2019, released from the Department of State Services’ custody by the Federal Government.
Prior to this development, Justice Inyang Ekwo had, on December 17, 2019, fixed December 23, 2019, to hear from the DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation on why Sowore should not be released from custody.
Sowore, through his lawyer, Falana, had filed a motion ex-parte before Justice Ekwo to demand his unconditional release from the DSS detention in pursuance of the release order made by Justice Ojukwu on November 6, 2019.
However, the matter could not be heard and it was later reassigned to Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
And on December 23, 2019, Justice Mohammed recused himself from the suit brought by Sowore before him.
Mohammed, who made his intention known to parties at the mention of the motion ex-parte with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1409/19, said his decision was due to a publication of bribery allegation against him by Sahara Reporters owned by Sowore.
The operatives of the DSS had rearrested Sowore shortly after a court proceeding on December 6, 2019, barely 24 hours of releasing him and his co-defendant, Bakare, from custody.
Justice Ojukwu had fixed February 11 as next adjourned date.
However, the AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had also on December 13, 2019, announced his take over of the prosecution of Sowore in the charge of treasonable felony levied against him.
Sowore, alongside Olawale Bakare, was on August 5, 2019, arrested and charged by the DSS with treasonable felony, money laundering, among others.