Why Have Sowore’s Sureties Not Come Forward?
There was an air of certitude to the DSS’ call for Omoyele Sowore’s sureties to come and pick him up. The Buhari administration has never hidden its intention to hold onto him and one ordinarily would expect his lawyers, former PDP youth leader and activist, Deji Adeyanju and others that went to pick him up to begrudgingly be told so. But the DSS instead came to the media to relay its ‘predicament’.
By the time its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya said they couldn’t release him to a mob and asked “What if he got hit by a car?”, my suspicions had reached a crescendo. The man appeared to know those sureties won’t come forward and was using that to taunt Sowore’s people.
Everyone supporting Sowore believes he is being punished for nothing other than wanting the best for his country and it is mind-boggling that when the power to free the man finally leaves Buhari and his DSS, those clamouring for his release duck and refuse to at the very least, urge his sureties to visit the DSS. You can’t be screaming ‘Free Sowore’ when you haven’t gotten his sureties to visit the DSS and shut down the one excuse they so confidently put forth.
The first thing the DSS said was that ‘no one came to pick him up’ and now they have said ‘he will only be handed to sureties’. While it is perfectly understood that the Buhari administration has over the last 4 years and 6 months, exhibited an unprecedented disregard for the rule of law, it has never publicly promised to release a person upon the fulfilment of a condition and failed. It at least deserves the benefit of the doubt.
To be realistic, no sane person would insist on fighting the propriety of the authorities insisting he must be handed over to sureties instead of rescuing him from detention. So what really is the problem; are Sowore’s sureties high profile politicians or businessmen that wouldn’t want to risk offending Buhari? Well, the odds are he knew their identities from the very moment they presented themselves to the court. Were they threatened?
As part of Sowore’s bail conditions, he was to deposit the sum of N50M to the court. Sowore may not be poor but that is a hefty sum for a man like him. Okay, say he scrapped that up, one also has to consider that for his co-accused, the lesser known and affluent Olawale ‘Mandate’ Bakare to fulfil his (which he did),he was required to put forth N20M.That is N70M altogether.
Its more probable than not that someone ‘important’ sympathized with them. Maybe more than one. Could it be that these same sympathizers stood as sureties and were subsequently arm-twisted into abandoning him?
Sowore is up against the government of the federal republic and his adversary is in a position to issue potent threats to just about any politician or businessman in this country rich enough to cough out that much for someone else’s bail.
Just one of the sureties being absent would automatically mean they fall short of the DSS’ condition of release.
Something is not right and that Sowore’s people haven’t fixed a date to accompany his sureties to the DSS office amidst much fanfare more than anything suggests the core members of his movement have conceded to the wishes of the surety/sureties and are appreciative enough of their efforts not to publicize their identity/identities.
Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana has been the most vocal of his camp and in as much as his dedication to fighting injustice is most commendable, right now he should only be heard bemoaning the refusal of the DSS to hand over Sowore despite his sureties making themselves available and not that Justice Ojukwu’s order did not specify that he be handed to those that will guarantee his presence in court.
In as much as he is saying the truth, the DSS would sell itself as taking precautionary measures in the name of national security and also ask why if he was such a fan of ‘strict sense’, he didn’t insist on transferring Sowore to either the Suleja or Kuje Prisons from the cozy DSS detention facility he chose to stay when the court ordered him to be moved to either.
Enough of the ‘Free Sowore’ cries, the needful at the moment is addressing head-on why Sowore’s sureties have not come forward to put him out of his misery. That is the right thing to do.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano
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