A member of Omoyele Sowore's legal team, Abdul Mahmud, has accused the Nigerian Government of deliberately delaying his trial by feigning lack of preparedness and seeking adjournments.
Mahmud in a statement on Wednesday said that it had become clear that the government was only hanging unfounded charges against the human rights activist and journalist especially since the prosecution had dropped the initial seven charges over which his client was detained arbitrarily.
Mahmud said, “The case, Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Sowore and Bakare, came up for trial today.
"Recall that on 7 December 2019, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered that all documents including the statements of the prosecution witnesses be served on the defence.
"Unfortunately, none was served during the intervening five weeks of adjournment. At the resumed trial this morning, the prosecution informed the court that it had filed a two-count amended charge, which was not served on the defence.
"The prosecution for the fifth time requested for a short adjournment to allow it serve the amended charge on the defence. Olumide Fusika SAN, leading the defence, opposed the application for adjournment.
"He prayed the court to strike out the charges before it for want of diligent prosecution.
“While delivering her ruling on the applications of the prosecution and defence, Justice Ojukwu lampooned the poor conduct of the prosecution and ordered that it pays the sum of N200,000 ($550) to the defence for wasting everybody's time.
"While we consider the order as a small victory for Sowore and Bakare, we derive no joy from the waste of scarce resources by a state that can't diligently conduct a criminal trial in open court.
"In adjourning the trial to Thursday February 13, 2020, Justice Ojukwu reiterated her order that all documents requested by the defence team be served on it.
"Finally, we note the scurrilous tactics the prosecution team has consistently adopted since formal criminal charges were filed against our clients in late September 2019.
"It is very clear that the Federal Government is only interested in hanging criminal charges around the necks of our clients like scarlet letters to shame them.
"Our clients remain un-bowed, un-cowed and are ready to have their day in court whenever the prosecution is ready.
"However, we cannot wait for forever for the prosecution to ready itself, while the lives of our clients are perpetually suspended and consigned to towns – Abuja and Osogbo – where they are virtually on forced exile. We shall return to court again tomorrow February 13, 2020.”