Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has frowned at the stringent bail condition given to his clients by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had while ruling on the bail application of pro-democracy activist and Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and Olawale Bakare widely known as Mandate, submitted that Sowore should provide N100m and two sureties in like sum.
The judge also said that one of the sureties must own landed property and deposit N50m and show evidence of tax payment since 2016, while Sowore was barred from travelling outside Abuja and also speaking to the press.
Mandate, who is the second defendant in the matter, was asked to provide N50m with one surety in like sum as bail condition.
The young man was also barred from speaking to the press and travelling outside Osun State where he resides pending the completion of the trial.
Reacting to the ruling, Falana said that he would be meeting with his legal team to ask the court for waivers on the stringent bail conditions because his clients had committed no offence.
He said, “We would take appropriate steps to ensure that our clients gain their freedom as soon as possible.”
The defendants had been taken back to the Department of State Services custody pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions.
Sowore was arrested by the DSS in Lagos on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to express their displeasure at the poor state of governance in the country.
On September 30, the Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had granted him bail and ordered the DSS to release him after he met the condition given by depositing his international passport with the court.
But despite that ruling, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime refused to free him, attracting condemnation from across the world.
The government is charging Sowore for acts of money laundering, insulting Buhari and planning to bring down his government – charges the pro-democracy campaigner vehemently denies and that had been described by legal practitioners across and beyond Nigeria as laughable and baseless.
The matter was adjourned to November 6, 7 and 8 for accelerated trial by the court.