Femi Falana, SAN, has revealed that he rejected an offer asking his Client, Omoyele Sowore, to apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari, and write an undertaking to desist from further embarrassing the Federal Government, in a bid to get released from custody, when the Sahara Reporters Publisher and RevolutionNow Convener was detained in 2019,
Falana, a Human Rights Activist, in a statement on Thursday, said that he rejected the offer as presented by a government Delegation comprising of the late Isa Funtua, and two others.
Read his full statement below:
ON THE COLLAPSE OF SECRET MEETINGS DESIGNED TO COMPROMISE OMOYELE SOWORE IN CUSTODY
In a deliberate attempt to distort the proceedings of the secret meetings held by representatives of Media Publishers and Officials of the Presidency with Mr. Omoyele Sowore, in the dungeon of the State Security Service, last year, Mr. Garba Shehu has continued to give the highly erroneous impression that the deal struck with the captive was frustrated by his Lawyer.
Since Mr. Shehu’s memory failed him in his jejune narrative, he said that: “The meeting ended well, and contrary to the posturing by Sowore, he said he was happy with a resolution proposed, but that his Lawyer, whoever that was, needed to come on board.
The fence-mending process collapsed after the meeting of the trio with the Lawyer in Lagos”. Mr. Shehu ought to have published the terms of the “resolution” which he claimed that Mr. Sowore had accepted instead of of blaming the collapse of the “fence-mending process” on the intransigence of his Lawyer, “whoever that was (sic)”
I confirm that I held a meeting with the trio referred to by Mr. Shehu, even though he did not mention my name.
Hence, I am compelled to react to a couple of issues raised in his incendiary account. More so that he did not attend the Lagos meeting. For reasons best known to Mr. Shehu, he refused to inform the Nigerian people that I rejected the gratuitous request to prevail on Mr. Sowore to apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari, and write an undertaking to desist from further embarrassing the Federal Government.
Apart from insisting that my Client had committed no offence by exercising his freedom of expression over the perilous state of the nation, I expressed my personal agony over the request, because I won the legal battle wherein the Court of Appeal had upheld the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to protest against the government without Police permit.
Mr. Shehu ought to have equally disclosed that I demanded for the unconditional release of my Client from the unlawful incarceration of the State Security Service.
In particular, I recalled the case of Isa Funtua v The President, wherein the Plaintiff had challenged the obnoxious newspaper registration decree enacted by the Ibrahim Babangida junta in 1993. For goodness sake, is Mr. Shehu not aware of the fact that Mr. Sowore was charged with treasonable felony, money laundering, and insulting President Buhari, for daring to call off the bluff of the Federal Government?
It is interesting to note I had teamed up with other Patriots in 2006, to campaign for the restoration of the liberty of Mr. Garba Shehu (who was then the Spokesman for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar), when he was detained by the State Security Service, and charged before the Federal High Court, with the offence of “obtaining, reproducing, and keeping classified material”, in contravention of the Official Secrets Act.
Happily, the charge filed against Mr. Shehu by the forces of incipient fascism in the country, was withdrawn and struck out in his favour. In like manner, the charge of a treasonable felony, which is hanging menacingly on the head of Mr. Omoyele Sowore like a sword of Damocles, will also be struck out in his favour, in the fullness of time.