A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application seeking an order to revoke the bail earlier granted to the convener of the #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore.
Naija News reports that Sowore and Olawale Bakare, his co-defendant, are standing trial on charges of “treason”.
The federal government accused them of staging “a revolution campaign” aimed at removing the president by unconstitutional means.
When the case was called on Thursday, neither the defendants nor their counsel was present in court. The court then stood down the matter until 1pm.
At 1pm when the matter was called, only Aminu Alilu, counsel from the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), was present. However, shortly after Alilu announced his appearance, Marshal Abubakar walked into the court and so did Sowore.
Abubakar informed the court that he had assumed that the case would not go on following “a letter (application) dated and filed January 29, 2021, which was addressed to the deputy chief registerer seeking to vacate February 4 for hearing proceedings”.
He said they had hoped to make the request on the last adjourned date but the trial was stalled due to the demise of Ibrahim Watila, a federal high court judge.
Responding, Alilu said it is shocking that the court has been made to wait for the arrival of the defendant for the second time and that the counsel “has abused the indulgence of this honourable court to create lies”.
Citing Section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), he said the defendants owe the court a duty to be present for their trial until the end.
Faulting the said application, he said the defence failed to state the reasons for their absence and why the court should vacate the fixed date until after Easter break.
He also asked the court to award cost against the defendants in favour of the witnesses who were in court.
Delivering ruling, Ijeoma Ojuwku, the presiding judge, berated the defence for their actions.
Ojukwu said the registrar who informed the court about the letter was also asked to inform counsel to make their application in the open court “being that the court cannot adjourn a matter on record on the application of one party in the absence of another by means of a mere letter”.
She said Abubakar’s view that the letter offers sufficient notice for the absence of the defendant is “speculative”.
Ojukwu said the letter also failed to state the reason why the date fixed for trial should be vacated until after Easter break.
Although the judge refused to revoke the bail of the defendants, she awarded N150,000 cost against Bakare who was not present in court.
The case has been adjourned to April 28 and 29 for continuation of hearing.