The Nigerian Bar Association on Sunday condemned the Department of State Services’ various acts of impunity and disobedience to court order for the release of the publisher of Sahara Reporters and convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore.
The association called for the immediate release of Sowore and other citizens being illegally detained by the agency.
A statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Mr. Kunle Edun, on behalf of the association, described the DSS’ act of disrespect for court orders as unfortunate.
The NBA said the conduct of DSS, which has now held Sowore for more than 50 days “is unacceptable in a country where there are laws”.
He added that such conduct by the DSS could not be condoned in a country where its Head of State, in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari, professed at the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly to respect the human rights of citizens.
The statement read in part, “The Nigerian Bar Association has become aware of the unfortunate and flagrant disobedience of the order of Hon. Mr. Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting at Abuja directing the release on bail of Citizen Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Security Service of Nigeria on September 24, 2019, of which the bail terms have long been perfected by the detainee’s counsel.
“The NBA recalls that the DSS found it convenient to approach the Federal High Court in ensuring the detention of Omoyele Sowore for more than 50 days but has since comfortably refused to comply with the order of the same Court directing the release of Citizen Omoyele Sowore.
“This is unacceptable in a country where there are laws and a nation which Head of State recently professed at the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly to respect the human rights of citizens.”
Calling for the release of Sowore, the NBA noted that “the Department of State Security is cutting for herself the notorious image of an agency that enjoys treating judicial process with disdain, particularly as it pertains to obeying orders of courts enforcing the fundamental rights of Nigerians.”
It added, “The continued detention of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in spite of various court orders readily comes to mind.
“The NBA therefore, condemns the continued detention of citizen Omoyele Sowere by the Department of State Security, as same amounts to violation of his constitutional rights to personal liberty and that no one person shall be deprived of his liberty without a valid court order, as provided for in Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). By virtue of the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Constitution (afore-referred) the Nigerian “Constitution is supreme and shall have a binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Bar Association, therefore, calls for the immediate release of Citizen Omoyele Sowore in terms of the order of the Federal High Court made on the 24th September 2019, and other Nigerians who have been languishing in DSS detention centres without any charge.”