By Charles Segun Adegbite
Detained activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore was released Tuesday by the Federal Government after over four months of incarceration in the custody of the Department of State Security, DSS.
It was due to too much pressure and global criticism from rights groups on Nigeria government, especially after he was rearrested in courtroom after a federal court granted him bail.
Released alongside was former National Security Adviser to erstwhile President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Colonel Sambo Dasuki(retd) who had been incarcerated since December 2015.
Sowore, the publisher of US-based Sahara Reporters, an online news media, was arrested in August for allegedly calling for a nationwide demonstration against Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, through his RevolutionNow protest rally.
Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, said in a statement that the decision to release Sowore was in compliance with the bail granted to him.
“…My office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts,” Malami said in the statement.
The embattled activist had previously been granted bail by a federal court in Abuja on December 6th, after he was arraigned in court for alleged treason, money laundering and cyberstalking the President, all which he denied.
He was however re-arrested by the DSS just a few hours after his initial release inside the court room.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele had set up last week a panel to do investigate hearing on the DSS alleged invasion of the courts to rearrest Sowore , and later asked all stakeholders in the matter to submit a memorandum for the Panel to peruse.
His arrest alongside another activist Olawale Bakare has sparked protests and fierce criticism from rights group against the Nigerian government.
Those who got negative attraction to this included US lawmakers, among them Cory Booker, who expressed their concerns over the apparent disregard of the rule of law.
The Punch Newspapers had published an editorial condemning the continuous detention of Sowore and other Nigerians granted bail by some courts and lack of respect for the rule of law by a government that got its legitimacy from the nation’s constitution.
Sowore’s counsel, Mr Femi Falana(SAN) had continued to condemn the rearrest and failure to release him in spite of courts order.
That December 6, after his rearrest by the state’s security service, SSS, his mother Esther Sowore issued a desperate appeal to President Buhari to free her son in an exclusive CNN interview.
His wife, Opeyemi Sowore Tuesday said in a statement to CNN that she is grateful that her husband is being released but insists he should be cleared of all charges, which she described as “baseless.”
“While I am grateful for reports on Yele’s long-overdue release on bail, my number one concern is for his safety. We remain resolute on Yele being cleared of all baseless charges.
“I look forward to his safe return home to our family in NJ. We continue to pray for a holiday miracle,” she said.
Dasuki on the other hand was arrested in 2015 for allegedly awarding contracts with funds meant for Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram insurgents during President Jonathan administration .