Omoyele Sowore, Sahara Reporters’ publisher and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, on Tuesday, described the federal government’s request for their transfer from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS) to prison as frivolous, vexatious and a contempt of the court.
This is contained in their notice of preliminary objection filed before the court to challenge the federal government’s fresh application.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the government’s application to transfer the activists to prison from the custody of the SSS.
This newspaper obtained a copy of the response of the accused Tuesday Evening.
Messrs Sowore and Bakare said the fresh application filed by the SSS before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja was meant to frustrate the court’s order for their release from its custody.
They also described the application filed on behalf of the federal government by the prosecuting lawyer, Hassan Liman, as contemptuous for being a contravention of the order directing the SSS to release them from custody.
The activists have been in the custody of the SSS since August. They were arrested for planning a protest popularised with the hashtag #RevolutionNow.
The SSS had refused to release both men despite two separate court orders.
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The two men are facing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.
The latest of the court orders for their release was the one issued by Justice Ojukwu after they met the bail conditions imposed on them after their arraignment.
In their argument, Messrs Sowore and Bakare through their lawyer, Femi Falana, said that the application for their transfer from the SSS custody to prison showed that there was no genuine intention to prosecute them.
The grounds of their application read thus, “The application was filed by the Complainant/Applicant to frustrate the execution of the order of release of the first and second defendants/objectors from the custody of the State Security Service made by this Honourable Court on November 6, 2019.
“There is no genuine intention to prosecute the first and second defendants by the complainant/applicant as the statement of witnesses this Honourable Court ordered to be availed the defence team is yet to be issued and served.
“The grounds upon which the complainant’s/applicant’s application is hinged are frivolous, vexatious, contemptuous, manifestly unarguable and unknown to law.”