Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and counsel to detained activist, Omoyele Sowore has reacted to the claim of the Department of State Services(DSS) that the order of the federal high court for Sowore’s release has not been served on the organisation.
Falana countered that the certified true copy of the order was received and acknowledged by Mr. Ayuba Adam of the Legal Department of the SSS on 24 September 2019. The senior lawyer, who is also a leading human rights advocate threatened to pursue contempt proceedings filed on Thursday against the Director-general of the DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi for disobeying a lawful order of the court.
” We are compelled to advise the Director-General of the SSS to comply with the valid and subsisting order of the federal high court for Mr. Sowore’s release forthwith. Otherwise, we are going to pursue the contempt proceedings initiated this morning to a logical conclusion”, Falana said.
Read Falana’s press statement:
“For the avoidance of doubt, I also sent the copy of the order to the Director-General of the State Security Service via whatsApp. Assuming without conceding that we did not serve the order, was the security agency not briefed by its lawyer who had strenuously opposed the application for Mr. Sowore’s release on the nebulous ground of national security?”
“Even though the Honourable Justice Taiwo had rejected the submissions of the SSS Counsel and ordered Mr. Sowore’s release from illegal custody since the detention order had expired the SSS has continued to detain our client without any legal justification.
“I have visited the headquarters of the SSS at Abuja daily for the past three days since the Court has ordered that Mr. Sowore be released to me. But on each occasion I was advised to exercise patience as the DG of the SSS was holding meetings with his staff.
“However, we are compelled to advise the Director-General of the SSS to comply with the valid and subsisting order of the federal high court for Mr. Sowore’s release forthwith. Otherwise, we are going to pursue the contempt proceedings initiated this morning to a logical conclusion.
“We are no longer going to accept a situation whereby a government which claims loudly to operate under the rule will disobey court orders with brazen impunity.
“Kindly find attached a copy of the order received and signed for on 24th September, 2019 by Mr. Ayuba Umar and the affidavit of compliance confirming that Mr. Sowore’s passport had been deposited with the Registrar of the Court in line with the order of the Honourable Justice Taiwo.
Femi Falana SAN.”