A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday threatened to imprison
the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi,
over the agency’s refusal to release detained activists Omoyele Sowore
and Olawale Bakare widely known as Mandate.
Recall that the court had on November 6, 2019 ordered the release of the
activists after they met their bail conditions.
A notice of consequence of disobedience of court order (Form 48) marked
FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019 obtained by SaharaReporters was served on Bichi by
the court’s bailiff.
The court document reads, “Take notice that unless you obey the
directions contained in this court order of the Federal High Court,
Abuja, made on November 6, 2019 which ordered you to release the
defendants/applicants in suit no: FHC /ABJ /CR/ 235/2019 forthwith, you
will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed
“This court has been informed that you are yet to comply with the lawful
order of the court by refusing to release the defendants/applicants
namely Omoyele Stephen Sowore and Olawale Adebayo (Mandate) in your
“You are hereby directed to comply with the court order forthwith or you
will be guilty of contempt of court.”
Sowore, famed globally for exposing Nigeria’s corrupt politicians, was
arrested in Lagos on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to take to
the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand a better country from
the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government is accusing him of insulting Buhari and planning to bring
down his regime – charges observers around the world have described as
Despite two separate orders by the Federal High Court in Abuja directing
his release after meeting stringent bail conditions, the DSS has refused
to release Sowore, casting a huge shadow over the human rights record of