Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a stern warning to strike out the long-standing alleged treasonable felony case against pro-democracy activist and Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore. The judge’s threat comes amid challenges faced by the Federal Government’s prosecution team during the trial.
- False Claims and Service Issues: The trial, which has spanned four years, centers around the government’s accusation of treason against Sowore for initiating the #RevolutionNow protest in August 2019. The proceedings on Wednesday were marked by the inability of the government’s counsel, Barr. Maryam Okorie articulates her arguments clearly. Okorie also made a false claim about the transfer of the case to Justice Nwite, stating that it started afresh due to the retirement of a previous judge.
- Service of Hearing Notice: Barr. Okorie informed the court that she was not aware if the second defendant, Olawale Bakare, had been served with the hearing notice. Sowore’s counsel, Mr. Marshall Abubakar, expressed concerns that the prosecution team might be attempting to frustrate his client by not serving the necessary notices for Bakare’s appearance in court.
- Call for Case Severance: Abubakar disclosed that he had written to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, requesting the severance of the charge to enable Sowore to take his plea and stand trial alone.
- Threat of Case Strikeout: Justice Nwite expressed dissatisfaction with the prosecution team’s handling of the case and warned that if the order to serve the second defendant was not promptly complied with, he would strike out the matter. The judge emphasized the need for the prosecution to be prepared and urged compliance by the next adjourned date, December 5, 2023.
- Prosecution’s Response: Barr. Okorie, representing the Federal Government, stated that they had written to the minister and would await the minister’s response to determine the next course of action.
The case’s future hangs in the balance as the court’s warning sets a clear deadline for the prosecution to address the service issues and proceed with the trial. The next adjourned date on December 5, 2023, will be critical in determining the fate of the case against Omoyele Sowore.
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