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#RevolutionNow: Egwatu Withdraws from Sowore’s Trial, as Nwite Takes over

todayMarch 1, 2022

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Obiorah Egwatu of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Tuesday formally withdrew from the trial of the Convener of the #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, who is also the Publisher of SaharaReporters Newspaper, and one Olawale Bakare are standing trial on alleged treasonable charges preferred against them by the federal government.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to bail by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the same Federal High Court in Abuja.

Initially, the Department of State Services (DSS), which was then prosecuting Sowore and Bakare, had attempted to flout the bail order by moving to re-arrest Sowore inside the court, an action that was widely condemned both locally and internationally.

In February 2020, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) took over the case, amended the charges and re-arraigned Sowore and Bakare.

The judge ordered the federal government to pay N200,000 as the cost to the defendants for the frivolous application for adjournment.

However, in the course of the trial, specifically in July last year, Justice Ojukwu was transferred to the Calabar Division of the Federal High Court and the case file returned to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, who then reassigned it to Justice Egwatu for trial Denovo.

However, at Tuesday’s trial, Justice Egwatu recused himself from the trial disclosing that the case file had been returned to the Chief Judge for reassignment to another judge.

It was learnt that the new judge to handle Sowore’s trial is Justice Emeka Nwite, although the date for Sowore to be arraigned afresh is yet to be fixed.

The defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/235/19, were accused of disturbing the peace of the country as well as attempting to topple the government of President Muhammadu Buhari during the August 5, 2019 #RevolutionNow protest.

Sowore and Bakare were initially standing trial on a seven-count charge before the federal government amended the charges, reducing them to two, which borders on treasonable felony.

The first count on the amended charge accused the publisher of Sahara Reporters and his co-defendant of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, contrary to section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.

Count two accused them of committing treasonable felony, contrary to section 41(a) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under same section of the Act.

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todayMarch 1, 2022

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