Tag Archives: BSAN

Falana SAN replies Malami, “Says you can’t release anyone out of pity”.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has said Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation, does not possess the constitutional power to release anyone on compassionate grounds.

Falana said this while responding to Malami’s claim that Omoyele Sowore, convener of the RevolutionNow movement, and Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, were released on compassionate grounds.

“The only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around our commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds,” Malami had said.

In a letter addressed to Malami, Falana said only the president and state governors are entitled to exercise the prerogative of mercy or release any convicted person on compassionate grounds.

“It is trite law that once a trial court has granted bail to any person standing trial for any offence whatsoever and the bail conditions have been met the detaining authority shall release the person from custody without any further ado,” he said.

“In other words, the refusal to release a defendant who has been admitted to bail by a trial judge is tantamount to contempt of court. Hence, before Sowore’s release, we had filed Forms 48 and 49 for the committal of the Director-General of the State Security Service to prison for contempt of court.”

“The government is not permitted to refuse to comply with the order of bail under the pretext of defending the security of the nation. Even under the defunct military dictatorship, detaining authorities were not authorized to incarcerate any person for “security reasons” in defiance of court orders.

{Left} AGF, Malami & Femi Falana {Right}

“With respect, the federal government has itself to blame for the needless controversy that has trailed the release of the duo. But having belatedly deemed it fit to review your position and advise the federal government in line with the tenets of the rule of law you ought to have apologised to both Sowore and Dasuki.

“That is what is expected of you in accordance with section 32 (6) of the 1999 Constitution. It is not an occasion for grandstanding or an arrogant display of power.”


U.S government sends representative to monitor trial of sowore.

The United States government has sent a representative to monitor the trial of #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore.

United States sends representative to monitor Omoyele Sowore

A representative was sent by the United States government, two weeks after the media personality was rearrested by Department of State Services (DSS) operatives inside a federal high court in Abuja, barely 24 hours after being released by the secret police who detained him for 125 days.

United States sends representative to monitor Omoyele Sowore

Photos taken at the resumed hearing of Sowore’s case at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday December 23, showed the Political Officer of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Marcus Thornton exchanging pleasantries with #RevolutionNow convener’s lawyer Femi Falana (SAN).


Falana (SAN) sends letter to AGF to demand sowore’s release.

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has written to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, seeking the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

In the letter dated December 13, 2019, Falana urged the AGF to use his office to direct the DSS to release Sowore from custody in line with the order of the Federal High court admitting him to bail pending trial.

Falana’s letter was titled, ‘Request For The Release Of Omoyele Sowore From Illegal Custody.’

It follows an earlier announcement by the AGF office that it had taken over the prosecution of Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, from the DSS.

“Following the announcement of your decision to take over the case of Federal Republic of Nigeria v Omoyele Sowore & Another, two members of the legal defence team visited the headquarters of the State Security Service on December 13, 2019 to demand for the immediate release of Sowore from illegal custody.

“Our colleagues were however advised to direct the request to your office in view of the fact that you have taken over the case from the State Security Service.

“In the light of the foregoing, we hereby request you to use your good offices to direct the State Security Service to release Sowore from custody in line with the order of the Federal High court admitting him to bail pending trial.

We are confident that you will not hesitate to grant our request as no court has issued any remand order for his detention,” the letter read in part.

The AGF’s decision to takeover the case follows criticism of the invasion of the Federal High Court in Abuja by the operatives of the DSS to re-arrest Sowore on December 6th.


BSAN, NBA warn against anarchy over court invasion.

…hallmark of indiscipline to the whole world

The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BSAN) and the Sultan of Sokoto, yesterday weighed in on the recent invasion of an Abuja courtroom and the rising cases of disobedience to court order, which they described as recipe for anarchy.

They spoke just as the Senate has resolved to probe the incident.

BSAN called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to probe into the alleged invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of Department of State Services (DSS).

The body said the event was troubling, particularly the audacity with which some of the actors stormed the courtroom.

“They exposed our hallmark of indiscipline to the whole world in a matter of seconds. The way out is an independent commission of enquiry under the law. This can be achieved.

“The Body of Senior Advocates hereby demands that Mr President considers without delay, the setting up of a judicial commission of enquiry to hear publicly and determine the perpetrators of the acts, their sponsors and their objectives,” Mr. T. J. Onomigho Okpoko (SAN) said in a paper he presented on behalf of the group at the valedictory court session in honour of Justice Kumai Akaahs, who retired as a justice of the Supreme Court, yesterday.

The DSS had on Friday, allegedly invaded the Court of Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu in a bid to rearrest the co-convener of RevolutionNow and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February 2019 general election, Omoyele Sowore.

Mr. Okpoko, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the body, Chief Richard Akinjide, went down the memory lane saying judiciary enjoyed respect, honour and dignity.

“Treasonable felony is a grave crime in the statute book but there is nothing special about it. Chief Obafemi Awolowo and others were once charged and tried for it. So, Sowore is not the first to be so accused. He will certainly have his day in court.

“The troubling aspect of the incident is the audacity with which some of the actors entered the courtroom vi et armis. They thus exposed our hallmark of indiscipline to the whole world in a matter of seconds…

“As I speak, no one has owned up to be responsible for what everyone saw on the television screen. The question is now, how can we curb that kind of behaviour in the future? The NBA has come up with statement from the Bar condemning the action. As members of the NBA, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria associate itself with the condemnation of the show of shame.

“It’ll, however, go one step further to suggest that this matter should not be swept under the expanding carpet of deceit in Nigeria. The pertinent question is who was responsible for the action in the courtroom?

“This is a task that the government must carry out to ascertain the truth. The Nigeria Police is a sister agency to DSS, they cannot, therefore, investigate this matter, so also the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Custom and other paramilitary forces in the country. The National Assembly is not sufficiently equipped to investigate the matter.

“The way out is an Independent Commission of Enquiry under the law. This can be achieved. The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria hereby demands that Mr. President considers without delay, the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to hear publicly and determine the perpetrators of the acts, their sponsors and their objectives. Unless this is done, Nigerians are unlikely to be convinced by any other explanations that the act was not the work of the DSS.

“It is result of any such Judiciary enquiry that will lead to the re-establishment of discipline in the society. The DSS and its officers are not above the laws of the land and the constitution. In Nigerian law and in the common law, the superior orders is no defence to a criminal conduct. It has never been and this administration must not allow it to be.

BSAN recalled that in the days before the military coup in the 1966, “the judiciary was accorded the highest recognition and honour in Nigeria. Judges were well respected and held high in all circles of the society.

“Their orders were respected and obeyed by everyone including the colonial government at all levels. There were clear signs of a disciplined society where the rule of law flourished to a great extent, and the rights of citizens were respected and upheld.

“The society today is one where indiscipline has taken firm root such that judgments and orders of court are now treated with disdain. The measure of value in our country has changed. Name, honour and good reputation no longer count. As such, what counts nowadays is wealth and political power no matter how they are procured. The honour and dignity of judicial officers have been relegated to the background.”

He lamented that “desperate politicians are mounting roadblocks on the path of the rule of law. They are doing all within their power to replace the rule of law with their own selfish interest.”

While noting that the 1999 constitution recognises the judiciary as the third arm of government to which judicial powers of the nation is vested to, Okpoko stated that “a country that does not respect its judiciary cannot qualify as a democratic country.

“It has been clearly stated by our predecessors in the profession of law that the judiciary is undoubtedly the weakest of the three arms of government under the constitution. It has no arms or weapons and controls no force and does not hold the key to the nation’s treasury. Save for the interpretation of the status made by the Legislature, the Judiciary plays no part in enactment of laws.

“By the constitutional arrangement of the country, the only power left to the judiciary is to decide matters in issue and make appropriate orders. Limited in its powers, the Judiciary remains the unbreakable pillar of the nation. The Judiciary was in place in colonial times and it continued thereafter. When the military intervened it did not abolish the Judiciary all they tried to do was try to coerce but it failed.

Also commenting, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) expressed worry over the persistent disobedience and flouting of court orders.

President of the association, Paul Usoro (SAN) warned that if the trend is not addressed, it would lead to anarchy.

“We desecrate the temple of Justice when we blatantly flout and disobey the orders of courts. A court that is made to be helpless in the face of flagrant disobedience of its orders is as useful to society as a toothless bulldog is to owner. No one fears a bulldog that is known to be toothless; it has no capacity even if it has the will, to keep away a marauding army or a band of Invaders.

“That is the picture of our courts we paint and broadcast, both within and to the outside world, when we brazenly flout and disobey court orders. In the process, we disrobe the court and make a mockery of its toga as the last hope if the common man or of any man at all.

“We thereby enthrone anarchy and promote the practice of self-help and the doctrine of might and brute force being always right. That slide into the abyss of anarchy and disorder must be arrested immediately and before it is too late. Our governments must take the lead in that regard. They must be exemplary in obeying and complying with court orders.

“Beyond appealing to the good conscience and sense of responsibility of litigants and Nigerian principalities generally, we urge the courts to demonstrate that they are not toothless in sanctioning persons who flagrantly disobey and flout court orders.

“Our courts are not entirely helpless in this regard; they are remedies in our Rules and statutes. Such persons, for example, must not have continued audience before the courts that they so flagrantly denigrate. They need to be denied audience before any and all courts during the pendency of their contemptuous conduct.

“They need to know that disobedience of court orders can be, and is costly. This requires the collaboration and cooperation of all courts in the land led by our apex court and My Lord, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. We must collectively promote and protect the rule of law by ensuring obedience and compliance with court orders.”