Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, scheduled October 21, 2019 for hearing the petition filed by pro-democracy activist and Sahara Reporters ‘ Publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, popularly known as the Mandate to Vary their bail terms.
In a court ruling on October 4, 2019, the protesters were granted bail but with strict conditions.
Their counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), had asked the court to make an alteration to what his clients would meet in the bail conditions.
In the sum of N100 m, the judge granted Sowore bail with two guarantees in the same amount.
In addition to asking him to deposit N50 m in the court’s account as insurance, Justice Ojukwu also barred him from travelling outside Abuja.
With a guarantee in the same amount, she granted bail to Bakare in the sum of N50 m.
He was prohibited from moving from his base in Osogbo, Osun State, except when he came to Abuja for trial.
The judge of the trial also prohibited the two men from talking to the press and from taking part in any form of protest until their trial was concluded.
Sowore and Bakare remain in the custody of the State Services Department as a result of their failure to meet bail conditions.
On 3 August 2019, Sowore was arrested in Lagos by the DSS for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to express their disappointment at the country’s poor state of governance.
On September 30, Federal High Court Justice Taiwo Taiwo, Abuja, granted him bail and ordered the DSS to release him after he fulfilled the condition of depositing with the court his foreign passport.
Yet following that decision, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari refused to release him, drawing worldwide condemnation.
The government charges Sowore with money laundering activities, threatening Buhari and attempting to overthrow his government–allegations that the pro-democracy activist strongly rejects and that legal practitioners across and outside Nigeria have described as ridiculous and groundless.
The case was adjourned for the court’s accelerated trial on November 6, 7 and 8.