The Nigerian Government on Tuesday ordered the release of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki and Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore from detention.
“I have directed the State Security Services (DSS) to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release,” Nigeria’s justice minister and attorney general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami said in a statement.
Malami said the decision to release them was in compliance with the bail granted to both Dasuki and Sowore by the courts.
“The two defendants are enjoined 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.
Their release comes three days after six lawmakers of the United State (US)- Robert Menendez, Charles Schumer, Christopher Coons, Cory Booker, Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer wrote a letter of concern to Malami over Nigeria’s disregard to court orders.
The lawmakers said Nigeria risks tarnishing its international reputation over Sowore’s indefinite detention and that “it will best serve Nigeria’s interests to protect and uphold the very legal systems that provide for stability and open dialogue.”
Operatives of the Department of Security Service (DSS) arrested Sowore on Saturday, August 3 after calling for a nationwide protest tagged #RevolutionNow.
The protest, after his arrest, was in major parts of the country. It focused on governance and government accountability to the people.
But the Nigerian government said Sowore was plotting to overthrow Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and charged him with treasonable felony, money laundering and terrorism.
After disobeying two court orders that granted Sowore bail within the first 124 days he spent in detention, the DSS released him on Thursday, December 5 and rearrested him on Friday, December 6 with no court order to do so.
Also, Dasuki, who served as national security adviser under former President Goodluck Jonathan, had been in detention for over four years despite four court orders, including an ECOWAS court granting him bail.
Dasuki was tried for alleged misappropriation of N19.4 billion arms funds while in government.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja in July 2019 declared that the continued detention of Dasuki by the DSS was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
Malami’s statement was silent on the fate of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Ibrahim El-Zakzakky and his wife, who are still in custody after being granted bail more than twice.