Trial of Sowore stalled as case reassigned to new judge

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*Sowore *

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The trial of Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow, in the alleged treasonable felony was on Tuesday, stalled in a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja.

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The trial, which was to begin afresh today before Justice Obiora Egwuatu, could not proceed due to its re-assignment to another judge.

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 The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sowore is being tried alongside Olawale Bakare in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/235/19.

 NAN reports that the matter was before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu until April 12, 2021 was transferred to the Calabar Division of the FHC and the case file returned to the Chief Judge (CJ), Justice John Tsoho, who reassigned it to Justice Egwuatu.

 The matter, which was scheduled to commence afresh before Egwuatu, suffered a setback due to the development.

Although counsel to the prosecution and defence were in court, including Sowore and Bakare, they were informed that the matter had been reassigned to Justice Emeka Nwite, the new judge who replaced Justice Anwuli Chikere, following her retirement.

NAN gathered that some cases are being reassigned to Justice Nwite, including Sowore’s trial, in accordance with the CJ’s directive to FHC judges at the Abuja division.

NAN also gathered at Nwite’s court that the matter was yet to get a date for the defendants to take fresh plea to the charges for the third time.

The Department of State Services (DSS) had sued Sowore and Bakare for organising the #RevolutionNow protest on Aug. 5, 2019, which the government saw as an attempt to disrupt peace in the country.

They were, however, charged with treasonable felony for organising the protests in parts of the country.

The DSS later released them on bail following court order made by Justice Ojukwu.After his release, the security agency re-arrested Sowore inside the court.

He was, however, released following nationwide condemnation.

In February 2020, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) took over the case, amended the charges and re-arraigned Sowore and Bakare.

Sowore and Bakare were initially standing trial on seven-count charge before the Federal Government amended the charges, reducing them to two, which borders on treasonable felony.

The first count on the amended charge accused the publisher of the Sahara Reporter and his co-defendant of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.

Count two accused them of committing treasonable felony, contrary to Section 41(a) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under same section of the Act.(NAN)

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