Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and a former senator, Shehu Sani, spared a moment to poke fun at each other on Wednesday while waiting in the courtroom at the Federal High Court Abuja for the trial of Omoyele Sowore.
Mr Sowore, the publisher of SaharaReporters, and a co-accused, Olawale Bakare, are standing trial on a seven-count charge of treasonable felony, fraud, cyberstalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Soyinka and Mr Sani were among the dignitaries who attended the Wednesday court session to show solidarity with Mr Sowore.
While waiting for Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu to step into the courtroom for the day’s proceedings to begin, the two men, known for their long years of involvement in democracy and human rights campaign in Nigeria, had a jolly good time talking to each other.
“Just arrived the Federal High Court venue of the Sowore trial. And Professor Soyinka was quick to say…. “Aha, here comes another Criminal like Sowore,” Mr Sani tweeted around 10:02 a.m. on Wednesday.
“And I said “sir you are the patron of the Criminals club.”
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Mr Sani also posted on Twitter a video of his exchange with Mr Soyinka.
Both men and others, including Mr Sowore, who sat near in the courtroom could be seen laughing out loud in the 21 seconds video.
The court, meanwhile, awarded N200,000 cost against the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for causing frivolous adjournment in Mr Sowore’s trial.
Messr Sowore and Bakare were arrested on August 3 by the State Security Services (SSS) for planning a protest popularised with the hashtag #RevolutionNow.
The SSS had on December 6 rearrested Mr Sowore at the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja a day after he was released from their custody. The publisher and Mr Bakare were released the night before on the order of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu after spending 124 days in SSS custody.
Mr Sowore was later released on December 24, 2019.