The Federal Government has given reasons why it released the former security adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and the convener of the Revolution Now protest, Omoyele Sowore, arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) respectively.
While the former security adviser, Dasuki, was arrested in December 2015, the convener of the Revolution Now protest, Sowore, was arrested on December 5 after his initial arrest on August 5.
The attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, made known the reasons while speaking with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa and the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) monitored in Abuja recently.
Malami explained that there was no pressure mounted on the Federal Government as speculated in some quarters, saying neither at home nor abroad that compelled the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki, but disclosed that government released the duo on compassionate grounds.
In a statement signed by the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, and made available to The Pioneer, it noted that the minister gave the directive for the release of Sowore and Dasuki in line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
According to the statement, the release became necessary in compliance with the bail granted to Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore.
"I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the defendants and effect their release, Malami said.
"I am also not unmindful of the right of the complainant/prosecution to appeal or further challenge the grant of bail by the court having regards to extant legal provisions, particularly Section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
However, my office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts.
The minister while reiterating the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari's effort in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general enjoined the two defendants to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land.
Malami said the only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around the administration's commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds.
According to him, it is important to understand the fact that as far as the law is concerned, and in relation to the Nigerian justice system, one has multiple options after a court has ruled on a matter.
These options, he mentioned, include the right to appeal the said ruling, the right to ask the same court that issued an order to vary or review the terms of the order as well as the right to request for stay of execution of the order pending the hearing and determination of an appeal in that matter.
The minister said that it was in line with the above provisions of the law that the Federal Government considered the relevant court orders in respect of the cases, stressing that the individuals concerned were released out of compassion and mercy as well as obedience to the rule of law and not because of any extraneous consideration.
Malami maintained that the Federal Government had the right to keep detaining the suspects while challenging the order admitting them to bail up to the apex court.
He repudiated the claim that his office had received any formal communication from any American senator on the matter and that the discussion during the visit of the American Ambassador to Nigeria at the event of the submission of letter of credence were not in any way connected to the accused persons.
"Even if we received any communication from them, that will never be the basis on the part of the Federal Government to obey or disobey court orders emanating from Nigeria, he said.
Malami disclosed that each of the cases of Dasuki and Sowore were treated on their individual merit and not in relation to one another or any other factors while describing as blatant falsehood the claims that Dasuki was detained for scoring certain primordial sentiments.
"The critical question that you may ask should be whether there is a strong suspicion of committing an offence or not. If there is a strong suspicion of committing an offence which deserved, as a matter of necessity, to be investigated through legal steps, then there was no room for thinking of witch-hunting an individual, scoring acrimonies or personal vendetta against anyone, he said.
He recalled that all individuals that were suspected of committing offences at various levels and at various times were charged to court with some granted bail based on the merits of their cases.
"The time has now come for Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowore to also enjoy bail based on the merit of their individual cases. They were charged based on their individual cases, taken to court, granted bail and now have been released. All the individuals involved were treated fairly and justly; they were taken to court, enjoyed the court's favourable discretion and they were all released, Malami added.