Sowore and Bakare discharged, court orders DSS to return seized items
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The Federal High Court in Abuja has made a significant decision, absolving Omoyele Sowore [/b]and Olawale Bakare of charges related to treasonable felony.

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The ruling by Justice Emeka Nwite came after the Attorney-General's counsel, A.R. Tahir, withdrew the charge, prompting the court to strike out the matter.

Olawale Bakare[/figure]

“In view of the application made by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation, this charge, between Federal Republic of Nigeria and Omoyele Sowore and another, is hereby struck out and the defendants discharged,” declared Justice Nwite.

Justice Nwite [/b]also instructed the Department of State Service (DSS) to promptly release three phones and the sum of N10,000 seized from Sowore during his arrest.

The judge further directed the DSS to release Bakare's phone and the sum of N1,500 confiscated during his arrest, along with ordering the immediate release of Sowore’s international passport.

These orders followed an application by the defendants' lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sowore and Bakare (1st and 3rd defendants) were initially arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in 2019, but the matter was reassigned to Nwite after Ojukwu's transfer to another jurisdiction.

The Federal Government had accused them of treason and attempting to overthrow former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

When the matter was called, Tahir informed the court of a notice of discontinuance filed on Feb. 15, seeking to withdraw the case, citing constitutional and legal provisions.

However, Falana disagreed, stating that the matter had been partly heard before reassignment, urging the court to dismiss the case.

Despite the disagreement, Falana commended the AGF, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, for the decision, expressing gratitude to the court for considering the dismissal due to lack of diligent prosecution.

Falana, while not seeking costs for the defendants, urged the court to compel the DSS to return seized items, including Sowore’s three phones and N10,000, and Bakare’s phone and N1,500.

He also requested the court to order the release of Sowore’s travel documents and title deeds submitted as bail conditions.

Tahir opposed Falana’s application for dismissal, arguing that the matter started afresh before Justice Nwite after reassignment.

In delivering his ruling, Justice Nwite concurred with Tahir, asserting the AGF's authority to discontinue a matter, even with a suspect in custody or on bail, as stipulated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

“Without much ado, the provision of ACJA is clear and unambiguous,” he declared while officially striking out the charge.

Earlier on Feb. 14, the judge had issued a warning to dismiss the case for lack of diligent prosecution.

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