Why deny court invasion after apologising to the judge? Femi Falana tackles DSS
Femi Falana, has lashed out at the Department of State Services (DSS) over its statement in which it denied invading a trial court to rearrest Omoyele Sowore.
Recall that the DSS alleged that the #RevolutionNow convener violated his bail conditions hence his rearrest. The secret police who insisted that they are a law-abiding agency, also claimed that Sowore’s supporters “stage-managed the drama” in the Federal High Court to bring the service to disrepute.
Reacting to DSS’ statement on his client’s rearrest, Femi Falana wondered why head of the DSS team apologized to the presiding judge Ijeoma Ojukwu when asked to justify invasion of the court.
The human rights activist who further claimed that some of the DSS operatives disguised in lawyer’s outfit were inside the courtroom, averred that the head of the DSS team offered an apology before he was asked to withdraw his men from the courtroom.
“As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court. Having taken over the court room vi et armis Justice Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases. After the learned trial judge had risen for the day she summoned the heads of the prosecution and defence teams to her chambers,” Falana said.
“When the lead prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN denied knowledge of the invasion of her court she directed him to invite the head of the SSS team in the court. When challenged to justify the invasion of the court the officer could not. He apologised to Justice Ojukwu on behalf of the SSS. The judge then directed the officer to withdraw the SSS operatives from the courtroom. The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the courtroom but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house.
“Though, ordinarily, officers of the Service do not wear any uniform, on the 6th day of December, some of them were in mufti, many were not only armed but also masked while others disguised in lawyer’s black and white suit. Regardless of the form of appearance, the officers of the Service inside Court No. 7 were identifiable by their roles and acts of seizing Sowore and pinning him down.”
According to Falana the DSS operatives who couldn’t provide a warrant of arrest also failed to inform the trial court that his client violated his bail conditions. He also described the arrest as illegal.
“Before submitting himself for arrest Sowore had rightly demanded for a warrant of arrest and detention order but the sss operatives were unable to produce either,” he said.
“In rationalizing the re-arrest of Sowore, which is denied in the same Press statement, the Serivce alleged that Sowore held metings with some people. Assuming without conceding that Sowore held meetings with some people in Transcorp Hotel as alleged by the sss, why did the Prosecution not inform the trial court that the defendant had breached his bail condition?”