Estimated Reading Time: <1
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday withdrew from the fundamental rights enforcement suit instituted by the ‘RevolutionNow’ protests convener, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, seeking an order for his release from custody of the Department of State Service.
There have been no fresh charges instituted against Sowore since he was rearrested by the operatives of the DSS on December 6 barely 24 hours of being released from the agency’s detention lasting over months.
But Justice Mohammed ruled on Monday that he could not hear Sowore’s case filed on December 10 saying it was the fair, just and proper thing to do in view of the previous publications by Sowore’s medium, Sahara Reporters, accusing him of taking bribe in a case to influence the outcome of his case.
The case in question is the trial of a former Governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam, who is now being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before another judge of the court, Justice Okon Abang.
Justice Mohammed noted on Monday that the reports by Sahara Reporters in 2016 and 2019 made him to withdraw from the ex-governor’s trial.
He recalled that when the first report was published in 2016, he was prevailed upon by the prosecution and defence teams to continue with the case.
He said the situation put him in a situation whereby if he ruled in favour of Sowore, it could be perceived as having been blackmailed by Sowore to so rule, and that in the event that he ruled against the activist, he could be perceived as being vengeful.
“Justice is rooted in confidence,” the judge said, adding, “That is to say none of the parties should have fear or apprehension that he will not get justice before a court.”
He then ordered that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, for reassignment to another judge.
Lawyers, counsel for Sowore, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who said he was aware of the publications referred to by Justice Mohammed, noted that in view of the judge’s observations, it was proper for the judge to withdraw from the case.