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Thursday, February 25, 2021

#RevolutionNow Protest: Appeal Court strikes out Sowore’s appeal

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Wednesday, struck out the notice of appeal that convener of the 2019 #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, filed to challenge his bail conditions.

Sowore, who was the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the last general election and publisher of an online news outlet, Sahara Reporters, is facing treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Though he was initially arraigned alongside his co-defendant, Olawole Bakare (A.K.A. Mandate) on September 30, 2019, on a seven-count charge that bordered on conspiracy, money laundering, cyber-stalking and for allegedly insulting President Muhammadu Buhari, the prosecution subsequently reduced the charge to two counts.

Meanwhile, Sowore, went to the appellate court to set aside some of the bail conditions that were handed to him and his co-defendant, by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.

Justice Ojukwu had in a ruling she delivered on October 4, 2019, granted Sowore bail to the tune of N100million with two sureties in like sum, while the 2nd defendant was granted N50m bail with one surety in like sum.

Aside from seizing Sowore’s travelling documents and directing him to deposit N50m as bond that he would be available to face his trial, the defendants were also barred by the court from participating in any form of protest.

Whereas Sowore was equally prohibited from travelling outside Abuja without leave of the court, Bakare was on the other hand, ordered not to travel outside Oshogbo in Osun State, pending the conclusion of the trial.

Dissatisfied with the conditions, the defendants filed an application wherein they pleaded the trial court for bail variation.

Following their application, the court, in another ruling on October 21, 2019, varied some of the conditions by waiving the initial requirement for Sowore to deposit N50m as bond, even as it also reduced Bakare’s bail sum from N50m to N30m.

The trial court however retained all the other bail conditions it earlier imposed on the defendants.

Consequently, Sowore, took the matter before the Court of Appeal.

When the matter was called up on Wednesday, a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court struck out the notice of appeal on the ground that it was defective.

The appellate court panel which was led by Justice Stephen Adah, ruled that the failure of the 2nd defendant, Bakare, to co-sign the notice of appeal, rendered it incompetent.

It, therefore, ordered the appellants to file a fresh notice of appeal.

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