Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has said that operatives of the Department of State Services turned down his request to drive out detained pro-democracy campaigner and Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, from the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
Falana said that he was at the DSS facility following an appointment he booked with the agency to enable him visit his client.
DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, had on Tuesday morning claimed that the service was yet to release Sowore because he could be knocked down by a vehicle if left to go on his own.
Falana while reacting to Afunanya’s claim, advised the agency to stop misleading and giving false information to members of the public.
He debunked claims by the DSS spokesperson that he had not called the Director-General of the service, who had failed to respond.
Falana however, urged the DSS to restrain Afunanya from further exposing the country to avoidable ridicule in his desperate bid to justify the illegal detention of Sowore and Olawale Bakare widely known as Mandate.
He said, “Before leaving the headquarters of the SSS, I advised the management to restrain Dr Peter Afunanya from further exposing the country to avoidable ridicule in his desperate bid to justify the illegal detention of our clients.
“In view of the claim of the SSS that Mr Sowore could be knocked down by a moving vehicle if left alone, I offered to drive him out of the headquarters of the agency but my request was turned down.”
Falana further revealed that in a brief meeting with Sowore and Bakare, he informed them that upon the verification of their sureties, the Federal High Court had ordered their releases from custody.
He said, “In order to arm them to press for their rights, I gave them a certified true copy of the court order for their release which had been served on the SSS management.
“Our clients debunked the claim of Dr Afunanya that they had been given access to telephone and other facilities.”
The DSS has continued to hold on to Sowore and Bakare despite two court orders to release them after meeting bail conditions on both occasions.
Sowore was arrested in Lagos on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand a better country from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government has accused him of insulting President Buhari and planning to bring down his government – charges observers around the world including leading legal practitioners describe as frivolous and laughable.