An Abuja magistrate’s court on Monday ordered the remand of Omoyele Sowore and four other activists in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the hearing of their bail applications.
Sowore, a former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) and publisher of online newspaper Sahara Reporters, was arrested along with his colleagues Juwon Sanyaolu, Damilare Adenola, Peter and Kimrere for allegedly leading a “Crossover protest” in Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command had in the First Information Report it entered before the court, which contained a three-count charge, alleged that the defendants were arrested with placards that called for a violent revolution against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge against them which bordered on criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and alleged attempt to incite a public disturbance.
Shortly after they entered their plea, police prosecution counsel James Idachaba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), told the court that the police would need more time to conclude its ongoing investigations.
His application was opposed by the defense lawyer, Mr Marshall Abubakar, who is from the Chambers of Mr Femi Falana, SAN, who made an oral application for the release of the defendants on bail pending their trial.
Marshal argued that the charge against the defendants were bailable offences.
But in a short ruling, Magistrate Mabel Shegun-Bello directed defendants to file a formal bail application.
She subsequently adjourned the matter until Tuesday to hear the defendants’ motions for bail.
The initial decision of the magistrate’s court to remand the defendants at the Wuse Police station was shelved after the DPO of the station could not be reached on phone.
The court directed that the Defendants should be kept at the Kuje Correctional Center, pending the determination of their bail request.
It further directed that they should be granted the facility to prepare for their case.
Sowore had previously been detained for about five months after he was arrested for convening the #RevolutionNow protest in 2019.
He had in a tweet he posted at the end of the court proceeding on Monday accused the prosecution of plotting “next moves” against him.
The tweet read: ‘We have been sent to the infamous Kuje Prison for the next 24 hours while they plot their next moves. But we are very resolute and convinced that this year will be different for the tyrant! #RevolutionNow.’
Lagos lawyer and a human rights Mr Femi Falana had said that Sowore asked him to sue the Nigerian Police Force for torturing and violating his fundamental human rights.
Sowore had earlier described his detention as ‘cruel’, adding that he would be ‘undaunted until full liberation is attained.’
‘We are currently at the Magistrate court n Wuse Zone 2 with a broken nose. Police want us sent to prison after five days in cruel detention. Just rest assured we are solid and undaunted until full liberation is attained! # RevolutionNow,’ he said in the tweet.
Before his arrest, the activist sent out a series of tweets calling on Nigerians to join him on a protest against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
He had tweeted: ‘How about a crossover protest/uprising tonight? Anyone willing to participate? Pick up a candle and a placard showing your grievances against the regime; let’s upload our short videos and photos across our social media platforms. Let’s welcome the regime to a resolute 2021!’