Falana to DSS: You lied on Sowore’s re-arrest, court invasion

Sowore: detained by a defiant DSS

Senior advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has stunningly revealed that the leader of the armed DSS operatives who stormed Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu’s court on Friday 6 December, to arrest Omoyele Sowore actually apologised to the judge for the desecration of her court.

The renowned human rights activist made the revelation Sunday, while debunking the press statement issued Saturday by the Department of State Services, in which it denied that its men invaded the court to re-arrest Sowore, Saharareporters publisher and former presidential candidate in the 23 February election.

Falana described the DSS statement as self-contradictory, in that the DSS made an unsuccessful attempt to absolve itself of responsibility for the armed invasion of the court and the illegal re-arrest of Omoyele Sowore, without a warrant or a charge.

Yusuf Magaji Bichi, DG DSS: Agency holding Sowore

“First, pretending to forget that the abominable desecration of the Federal High Court was covered live by domestic and international media outfits and journalists, some of whom were also direct victims of the gangsterism, barbarism and brutalisation displayed by officers of the Service on the 6th day of December 2019, the Service has conducted “eye witness” accounts of what transpired with the aim of showing that officers of the Service were not involved in the rearrest of Sowore.

“Second, the Service argues on the one hand that the arrest of Sowore was “stage managed” by his supporters in order to give the Service a bad name whilst also admitting at the same time that officers of the Service arrested Sowore outside the Court. Having declared that the Service arrested Sowore “outside the court”, despite the “stage managing” argument, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court.

Femi Falana SAN

Falana then rolled out what he called indubitable facts about the illegality committed by the DSS:

“By the advantage of information technology, the whole world has placed responsibility for the gangsterist desecration of the court on the SSS. The SSS cannot extricate itself from the abominable acts of 6th December, 2019.

“When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan.

“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(trespass with force) 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.

“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 court room. The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the court room but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house.

“Notwithstanding that the SSS could not produce any warrant of arrest for Sowore the defence team decided that I should accompany him to the SSS headquarters in view of his physical brutalisation inside the court room and the open threat to his life. I did and ensured that he was driven in my car to the SSS headquarters where I handed him over to the officers on duty. Thereafter, I requested for a meeting with the head of the SSS but I was informed that he was not in the office.

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. It is an utter poor reasoning to say that Sowore’s supporters were also those bent on injuring him in order to arrest him. The argument of the Service in this respect is as unfortunate and pitiable as the earlier argument of the Service in respect of the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was once accused of wanting to set ablaze his own 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. It is an utter poor reasoning to say that Sowore’s supporters were also those bent on injuring him in order to arrest him. The argument of the Service in this respect is as unfortunate and pitiable as the earlier argument of the Service in respect of the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was once accused of wanting to set ablaze his own house.

“If Sowore’s supporters subjected him to such brutalisation in the presence of sss operatives why were they not arrested for contravening the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017? Or were the SSS operatives expecting the supporters of a defendant wanted by the State to kill him in their presence?

“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.


“In rationalizing the re-arrest of Sowore, which is denied in the same Press statement, the Service alleged that Sowore held meetings 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?


“The SSS says it is a law abiding institution. But why did it refuse to comply with the order of Justice Taiwo to release Sowore? Why did the SSS threaten to report the judge to the NJC for granting bail to Sowore?

“Why did the SSS subject the order of Justice Ojukwu for the release of Sowore to its own approval by asking the sureties already verified by the judge to report themselves to the SSS? Why the SSS wait for the 24-hour ultimatum issued by the trial judge before releasing Sowore and Bakare,?

“Incidentally, the current prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN was the counsel to the defendant in the case of FRN v Air Commodore Mohammed. In that case the order of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba for the release of the defendant on bail was flouted by the SSS. As if that was not enough, the SSS invaded the home of the judge on 8th October 2016 when the houses of judges accused of corruption were raided. Even though I have never appeared before Justice Dimgba, I have always known him as a judge of impeccable integrity. So, I challenged the SSS for painting an incorruptible judge with the brush of shame. It was after my intervention that the NJC gave the judge a clean bill of health.

“Thereafter, the judge was compelled to withdraw from the case. The SSS thought that it had won but it was a pyrric victory. Thus, Justice John Tsoho (current Chief Judge of the federal high court) to whom the case was re assigned reiterated the orders of Justice Dimgba and proceeded to rule that trial would not commence in the case until the defendant was released from custody. It was at that stage that the SSS complied with the order of the federal high court.


“In the light of the foregoing we reiterate our demand for the release of not only Sowore in obedience to court orders, pending the verdict of the court in their trial. We equally call for the release of all other political detainees, and criminal suspects who have been admitted to bail pending trial by competent courts.

“Finally, it is common knowledge that this country was ruled by military dictators for about three decades. On no occasion did security operatives invade court premises to arrest political activists inside a court room. Therefore, the bizarre harassment of courts cannot be tolerated under a democratically elected government that claims to operate under the rule of law.

Femi Falana, SAN

View Comments

  • Falana is just a common noise maker. i thought he will quote a section of the constitution that says a criminal on a treasonable charge cannot be arrested inside a court room. Nonsense!

    Cancel reply
  • James Osaghae, you are a typical moron. It's either you are lacking some deficiencies in your reasoning faculty or you are having a chromosomal abnormality. Do you even know what it means to overthrow a government? Where have people's fundamental human right gone, they want you to be dying slowly without complaining of what is killing you, that's what they talked about hate speech Bill to kill freedom Of speech, to silence the social media and the press. To hell with this kind of democracy. No wonder Prophet Nnamdi kanu called Nigeria a zoo country.

    Cancel reply
    • And you sincerely believe Sowore is the answer to that. Oga, when people are generally frustrated because of lack of free money in the system, all you need is a spark from a misguided fellow like Sowore to start the unthinkable. Sowore should have started his campaign for 2023 to garner more support instead of calling for a revolution. Look at nations that have gone through revolution recently and let me know if they are better off today. I repeat, give Sowore half of PMB's powers and you will see his true colors.

      Cancel reply
  • This Falana has no common sense again. Anyway he just after his money. If Femi Falana was the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will allow some one who want to overthrow his government by force and cause destabilization in the country to go free. A person who loved USA than the country Nigeria where he was born. We Nigerians should think very well. For God sake let us give respect and honour to our president, Buhari. He is our leader and we are instructed by God to respect the person in authority. For those who care, please ready Romans 13:1-14 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 1Peter 2:14-13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.

    Cancel reply
    • stupid fool - with all the grammar u typed it still shows u are an illtrate cont. wetin consin bible for this matter idot it shows y u r so stupid cos u dont have a brain and if u do its been washed and it shows. ode

      Cancel reply
    • I find out that your mother was a prostitute. As you don't have a father, I know where you came from. A man with no morality whatsoever. Shame!

      Cancel reply
    • Did you see sowore in aso rock with gun or other weapons? How did he attempt to overthrow your father's govt. You people together with herdsman in government are blind

      Cancel reply