A Magistrate Court in Wuse, Abuja, has granted bail to Omoyele Sowore, rights activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, on strict conditions.
On Monday, the chief magistrate, Mabel Segun-Bello ruled that Sowore be released on the conditions that he pays N20 million bond and produces two sureties.
Sowore alongside four others—Peter Williams, Sanyaolu Juwon, Emmanuel Bulus and Damilare Adenola— was arrested on New Year’s eve for spearheading a series of planned protests across the country— tagged #theCrossover Protest— over bad governance and economic hardship.
The campaigns were targeted at condemning the government’s apparent squashing of the youthfully-engaged #EndSARS protests that demanded a better Nigeria after experiences of police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
Last Monday, Sowore and other activists were docked on a three-count charge of unlawful assembly, conspiracy, incitement and COVID-19 protocols breach.
The defendants prayed a bail application which was to be heard on Friday but was stalled by the non-appearance of the applicants whom the police failed to present before Magistrate Segun-Bello.
Ruling on the bail application on Monday, the chief magistrate said the defendants are entitled to bail since it is their fundamental right to liberty, adding that they did not resist arrest while being apprehended.
She ruled that the second, third, fourth and fifth defendants be granted bail in liberal terms with N1 million bond each and produce one surety “in like sum who must be resident in Abuja with an identifiable workplace and residential address.”
Their movement was also restricted to Abuja alone.
Sowore was ordered to pay N20 million bond as well as produce two sureties—one of whom must be a civil servant not below grade level 12 in the federal civil service.
“The first defendant, however, Omoyele Sowore is also admitted to bail in the sum of N20 million and two sureties in like sum,” the magistrate ordered.
As part of his stringent bail conditions, Sowore must report “physically” to the chief registrar of the court all Mondays and Fridays until the closure of the case.
Like other defendants, Sowore must not travel outside Abuja metropolis or outside the country pending the conclusion of the case.