Sahara reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-detainee, Olawale Bakare, have instituted fresh contempt suit against the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi.
They had earlier commenced a similar legal action which they did not follow through, following the refusal of Bichi to obey the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo for the two men’s release from custody after the 45 days period the judge permitted the DSS to hold them in custody expired.
Both men, who have been held in the custody of the DSS since August 2019, want the Federal High Court in Abuja where they institute the fresh legal action to jail Bichi for being in contempt of court.
They had both on November 15 filed separate human rights enforcement suits seeking N500m damages, each, against Bichi and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for their refusal to release them.
Our correspondent on Monday saw copies of the contempt suit the applicants had instituted on November 12, 2019, against Bichi, who is the sole defendant in the suit.
Copies of the documents made available to Punch on Monday however showed that the suit was only served on the DSS through one of its officers, Tina James, on Monday, November 25, 2019.
The applicants filed the suit titled, ‘Notice of the consequence of disobedience to court order,’ was instituted on the strength of Order IX and Rule (1-3) of the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules, section 72 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, 2004.
It was signed by the Registrar of the court with the court’s stamp dated November 12, 2019.
The application instituted on behalf of the applicants by their team of lawyers led by Mr Femi Falana (SAN), threatened a jail term against Bichi, should he continue to disobey the court order for the release of the two men.
It read in part, “Take notice that unless you obey the directive contained in the order of the Federal High Court of Justice, Abuja, made on November 6, 2019, which ordered you to release the defendants/applicants in suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019 forthwith, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.
“A copy of the said order of court earlier served on you is hereby annexed for your on-the-spot-reference.
“This court has been informed that even as of today, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, you are yet to comply with the lawful order of the Federal High Court by refusing to release the defendants/applicants namely: Omoyele Stephen Sowore and Olawale Adebayo Bakare (Mandate), in your custody forthwith or you will be guilty of contempt of court.”
Sowore was arrested in Lagos on August 2, while Bakare was nabbed in Osogbo, Osun State on August 5, following the calls for the RevolutionNow protests.
The two men’s lawyers had argued that their clients were detained illegally without a court order till August 8, 2019, when Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court gave the agency the permission to hold them for 45 days.
While still in detention, Sowore and Bakare were charged with treasonable felony and other sundry charges.