Despite repeated court orders for the release of Omoyele Sowore, the Attorney General of the Federation has said his office “needs further court directives to release him.”
Mr Malami said this in a statement on Monday in response to a ‘request’ for his office “to direct the release of Mr Sowore”.
Mr Malami described his position on the matter, as “having recourse to the rule of law.”
“When parties submit their issues for determination to a court of law, they lack exclusivity of decision over such issues without recourse to court,” Mr Malami said, according to the statement. “We remain guided by the established tradition and will not take unilateral decision without recourse to the rule of law.”
According to the statement, Mr Malami “was responding to the media on the claim that a lawyer sent a letter to the AGF requesting for the release of Mr Sowore.”
Mr Malami had earlier written the office of the State Security Service to allow the AGF continue with Mr Sowore’s case.
The matter had been instituted by the Nigerian government who, through the SSS, have held Mr Sowore captive since August 3 and only released him for barely 24 hours on December 5.
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Mr Sowore’s lawyers have questioned Mr Malami’s directive to the SSS, saying he was only confusing Nigerians as it was his office that prepared the initial charges filed against Mr Sowore by the Nigerian government.
Mr Sowore is facing trial for alleged treasonable felony after he organised a nationwide anti-government protest tagged #RevelutionNow.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had faulted the SSS for failing to release Mr Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, despite meeting their bail conditions.
The judge ordered the SSS to release Mr Sowore and pay N100,000 as damages for its initial disobedience of court orders.
But 24 hours after Mr Sowore’s release, armed operatives of the SSS stormed the court and re-arrested him.
Several national and international individuals and groups have decried the continued detention of Mr Sowore and accused the government of tilting towards despotic rule.
No new charges have been filed against the activist despite being questioned by the SSS for alleged links to outlawed groups in Nigeria.
Mr Sowore has now spent 10 days since his new detention without any new charges filed, in violation of Nigerian laws which allows a maximum of 48 hours for such detention.