Brought to court in hand cuffs and transferred to Force CIID in Area 10, in Abuja.
A magistrate court in Abuja has again adjourned the case filed against publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and others without granting or denying them bail. Instead, the magistrate adjourned the case to January 8.
Sowore was brought to court in handcuffs the reason which was not given to the media.
Magistrate Mabel Segun-Bello, in her judgment on Monday4th January had ordered that the accused be transferred to Kuje Correctional Prison detention till Tuesday when the court will hear the bail application.
However, at the court sitting on Tuesday, the activist said he was denied food, water, and medical attention.
“I wish to report back to the court that contrary to the order of court that we should be given medical attention and welfare, nothing has been done,” he said.
“No medical care, food, water, changes of clothes and beddings. I have not even been given food. This is a plot to detain us further and inflict maximum injury.
“We were left outside for over two hours yesterday. They refused to accept us because of COVID-19 protocol. It was the CP who called the comptroller general and forced them to detain us.
“I don’t want to go back to Kuje. I was brought from a facility and I don’t mind going back there because my doctor can reach me there.”
Responding to why the order of the court was not complied with, Sanda, an officer of the correctional centre who escorted the defendants, said: “The time they came in yesterday was very late. Dr. Ajayi had closed and they actually were kept in a solitary place because of COVID-19.”
Mabel Segun-Bello, the chief magistrate, asked the defendants if they would prefer to return to the police station where they were initially detained, Kuje correctional centre, or the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID).
Sowore, who spoke on behalf of all the defendants, said they would prefer the FCIID.
Making a formal application, Marshal Abubakar, counsel to the defendants, affirmed the decision of his clients.
“Our application is that in view of the defendants’ concerns, we would be asking that the defendants be remanded at a facility that can offer access to doctor, lawyers, food, change of clothes and water within the Abuja metropolis. Preferably, FCIID area 10,” he said.
However, Prosecution Counsel, Adama Musa objected to moving the defendants to FCIID.
“We vehemently oppose the remand of the defendants in the custody of the police on the ground that the defendant has previously made allegations of torture against the police,” Adama said.
“The right place for them to be is the correctional centre.”
After placing a call directly to the commissioner of FCIID in open court to inquire if there is space to accommodate the defendants, the chief magistrate ordered that they be remanded at the FCIID, Area 10, Abuja pending the determination of their bail application.
She also ordered that the accused persons be given access to medical care, sufficient food, good water and fresh air.
The chief magistrate also directed that Damilare Adenola, the third defendant, should be given access to internet facility under strict supervision to enable him continue his online school programme.
Although the court had fixed Tuesday to hear and rule on the bail application, due to copious submissions canvassed by both the counsel to the prosecution and the defendant, the chief magistrate was unable to reach a decision.
Ruling on the bail application will be delivered on January 8.
However, Maibel, in a fresh judgment on Tuesday evening, after listening to the counsels of the parties involved, again ordered that Sowore and other protesters be transferred to Force CIID in Area 10, in Abuja.
Narrating how he was arrested and brutalized by the police, the former presidential candidate said the encounter with the police convinced him that brutality of citizens by security operatives has not ended.
“The policemen that were brought to the place of the protest were beating people and I came down from my car where I was covering the protest to stop them from beating people.
“They pounced on me, and broke my nose. It was carried out by a mobile police officer who loaded about seven vehicles with mobile police officers well-armed..
“It was an attempt to stop him from terrorizing Nigerians in view of #EndSARS protest and the position of the country on police brutality that they pounced on me and broke my nose. When they took me to their Abattoir, I discovered that the Nigerian government has not ended SARS. They mobilized SARS to beat us up and force us into detention,” Sowore said.
Sowore was arrested alongside four protesters during a #CrossOverProtest held on the eve of New Year in Abuja. After spending four days in police detention, the protesters were arraigned before the Wuse Zone 2 court by police on Monday on charges of unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance.
An Activist with #Bringbackourgirls, Oby Ezekwesili said Tuesday that President Buhari should release Sowore and four others or extend prison facilities for more people are coming for Buhari to haunt to jail.
She wondered why Buhari would turn around now to have a phobia for protests when He himself organized a mother of all protests against former President Jonathan.