The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday fixed July 8 for the hearing of the appeal filed by Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Adebayo Bakare, to challenge the bail conditions restricting their movements to Abuja and Osogbo, respectively.
The three-man panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki adjourned the proceedings on Wednesday to enable the Federal Government to file its respondent’s brief in response to the appeal.
Sowore and Bakare are being prosecuted before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja on treasonable felony charges.
They were charged following their last year’s call for ‘RevolutionNow’ protests, which the prosecution alleged were aimed at toppling the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
Justice Ojukwu, on October 4, 2019, granted bail to Sowore in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum, and to Bakare, in the sum of N50m with one surety,
Among other conditions, the judge ordered that one of Sowore’s sureties must deposit N50m in the court’s bank account as security.
She barred the two defendants from addressing public rallies during the period of their trial.
She also ordered that during the period of the trial, Sowore must not travel out of Abuja and Bakare not to leave Osogbo, the Osun State capital, except when he has to travel to Abuja for the proceedings.
But following an application by the defendants, the judge on October 21, 2019, struck down the condition requiring Sowore to deposit N50m as security.
Both men had further appealed to the Court of Appeal seeking an order striking down the conditions restricting their movements and barring them from addressing public rallies.
The Court of Appeal had fixed Wednesday for parties’ adoption of the briefs of argument.
But the proceedings could not go on because the government had yet to file its reply brief but only filed a preliminary objection instead.
Sowore’s lawyer, Marshal Abubakar, insisted that the correct procedure required the Federal Government to file a respondent’s brief and not a preliminary objection.
The Federal Government’s lawyer, Aminu Alilu, asked for an adjournment of the case to enable him to file the respondent’s brief.
The court acceded to Alilu’s request and fixed July 8 for hearing.