We Released Sowore, Dasuki as an ‘Act of Mercy’, Malami Insists

Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami SAN on Monday doubled down on his initial position that the Nigerian government released Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki from detention as an ‘act of mercy’.

Dasuki, ex-National Security Adviser, and Sowore, a former presidential candidate, were released from Nigeria’s secret police custody last week.

Sowore and Dasuki were illegally detained despite court orders releasing them. While the former was arrested since August, 2019, the later has been in detention since 2015.

Their illegal detention attracted widespread criticism locally and internationally before they were finally released.

“The only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around our commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds,” Malami said told BBC Hausa in an earlier interview.

“It is important to understand the fact that as far as the law is concerned and in relation to the Nigerian justice system, one has multiple options after a court has ruled on a matter,” he added.

But Femi Falana, Sowore’s lawyer, countered Malami’s claims. According to the Falana, Malami owes both Sowore and Dasuki an apology according to the provisions of the law.

Falana added that it is mandatory the government releases anyone granted bail by the court and meanwhile, the government never appealed Sowore and Dasuki bail orders.

In reaction to Falana’s claims, Malami in a statement signed by his spokesman Umar Gwandu on Monday further justified the Nigerian government’s stance. He accused Falana of citing “non-existent sections of the law” and also ‘fabricating’ constitutional provisions to support his arguments.

Malami also described the government’s failure to challenge the bails granted to Dasuki and Sowore as “an act of mercy.”

Malami said the Nigerian government has constitutional right of appeal in Criminal Prosecutions.

“These rights extend to Rulings on Bail and right to seek to vary terms of Bail, among others,” Malami said.

“Thus, in any circumstance where this right is waived by the Prosecution, it can only be for valid reasons, including compassion, after all connected issues have been duly considered.”

“It is unfortunate that a senior member of the Bar could resort to concoctions and fabrications of non-existing provisions just to score cheap media publicity,” Malami said in the statement.




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