Godwin Tsa Abuja

The Federal Government yesterday re-arraigned the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on amended charges of treasonable felony and conspiracy in a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Although the defendants were re-arraigned, the trial could not proceed following the inability of the prosecution to serve them with copies of the electronic Video Compact Disc it intended to rely on. The judge fixed March 11 to 13, for trial.

In the circumstances, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, granted the prosecution’s request for two weeks to compile the materials and have them served to the defence.

The prosecution counsel, Aminu Alilu, while responding to the request for the VCDs by defence counsel, Mr Abdul Mahmud, said the AGF, which newly took over the case from the Department of State Services (DSS), was not aware of the court’s order for the service of the materials on the defence.

He assured the court that the prosecution was much ready for the case and would present its witnesses within four days.

Meanwhile, FG, through its lawyer, Mr. Aminu Aliu, applied for accelerated trial of the defendants, saying it would only use four days to close its case against them.

However, the defendants’ counsel, Abul Mahmud, complained that contrary to the order of the court, the prosecution only served summary of statements of its proposed witnesses on the defence.

He persuaded the court to direct FG to furnish the defence with full statements of the witnesses as well as video clips and electronic tape that was referred to in the summary statement of one of the witnesses identified as Moses Amadi.

The amended two-count charge against the defendants reads: “That you Omoloye Stephen Sowore, male, adult of No.1, Mosafejo street, Kiribo, Ese- Odo LGA, Ondo State, Olawale Adebayo Bakare (A.K.A Mandate), male, adult of Olaiya r, Oshogbo LGA, Osun State ,and others at large, under the aegis of Coalition for Revolution (CORE), sometimes in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to stage a revolution campaign on 5th day of August 2019 tagged “#Revolution Now” aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during his term of office otherwise than by constitutional means.

“That you Omoloye Stephen Sowore, male, adult of No.1, Mosafejo street, Kiribo, Ese- Odo LGA, Ondo State, Olawale Adebayo Bakare (A.K.A Mandate), male, adult of Olaiya, Oshogbo LGA, Osun State and others at large, under the aegis of Coalition for Revolution (CORE), sometimes in August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire amongst yourselves to stage a revolution campaign on 5th day of August 2019 tagged “#Revolution Now” aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during his term of office by other means than by constitutional means.”

They were said to have by their action committed the offence of treasonable felony, contrary to section 41(a) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under the same section of the Act.