An activist, Omoyele Sowore, has filed a suit against the State Security Service, SSS, over his arrest and continued detention.
In the charge sheet made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the Sahara Reporters publisher is asking the court to order the SSS to pay him N500 million as damages for his detention and violation of fundamental rights.
Recall that a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja had signed a release order for Mr Sowore on November 6, after he met the bail conditions set by the judge. But the SSS refused to release the activist.
Many Nigerians and lawyers have said that the SSS refusal to comply with the order effectively meant that Mr Sowore was being held in illegal captivity by state agents.
Mr Sowore was arrested in August for planning a nationwide protest he labelled ‘RevolutionNow’. The Buhari administration said the planned demonstration was a treasonable act because it was aimed at causing a regime change.
He denied the allegations, saying his campaign was to mobilise teeming Nigerian youth to denounce poverty, insecurity and other national challenges assailing the country.
Following Mr Sowore’s initial arraignment in September, he was granted bail by the trial judge. But the SSS disregarded the order and the government filed new charges against the Sahara Reporters’ publisher.
Mr Sowore in his suit marked FHC/ABJ /C51409/2019 dated November 20, wants, among others, “A declaration that the detention of the applicant from November 7, 2019 till date in violation of the order for his release made on November 6, 2019 is illegal as it violates his fundamental right to liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 6 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“An order of this court compelling the respondents to pay to the applicant the sum of N500,000, 000, 00 ( Five hundred million naira) as general and aggravated damages for the illegal violation of the applicant’s fundamental right to life, dignity of his person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further violating the applicant’s fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and however without lawful justification.”
Joined in the suit is the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.