Human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has concluded that the Federal Government would readily obey orders made by foreign courts but disobey the ones issued by Nigerian courts.
The activist was reacting to the continued detention of Omoyele Sowore, the convener of #RevolutionNow protest and Olawale Bakare, by the Department of State Service in spite of court orders that he should be released.
He cited the instance of the Federal Government hurriedly obeying the order of a London court to pay the sum of £250,000 cost to a foreign firm, Process and Industrial Development, as condition to appeal a controversial $9.6bn judgment.
He said, “The Federal Government has alleged that the controversial judgment debt of $9.6bn was obtained fraudulently by P & ID. But the commercial court in London recently ordered Nigeria to pay £250,000 within 14 days as a precondition for filing an appeal against the judgment.
“The said sum of £250,000 has since been paid to P & ID in strict compliance with the orders of Her Majesty’s High Court in London.
“But since national security takes precedence over the rule of law at home, the orders of the Federal High Court for the immediate release of Messrs Sowore and Bakare have been brazenly disobeyed by the State Security Service.”
The Federal High Court had served the warrant for the release of both Sowore and Bakare on the DSS but its spokesperson, Peter Ifunaya blamed the non-release of the two men on their lawyers for allegedly failing to show up to receive them.
But Falana, who leads the defence team, had swiftly reacted, saying lawyers from his team waited in vain for hours to receive their clients from custody on Thursday.
Following the agency’s indication of its interest to comply with the court orders for the release of Sowore and Bakare on Friday, defence lawyers, activists and supporters of the two men arrived at the DSS headquarters in Abuja at about 8am on Saturday.
But it turned out to be that they had to wait for hours in vain.