RevolutionNow Trial: Sowore Unconnected To Violence, Revolutionary Activity Says DSS Operative

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An operative of the Department of State Services, Rasheed Olawale, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday that no act of violence or revolution could be attached to the RevolutionNow convener and human rights activist on August 5 which had led to his arrest.

He disclosed these during cross-examination by the defence counsel, Femi Falana, at the resumed hearing of the case. 

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation is prosecuting Sowore and Olawale Bakare on two counts of treason felony.

The prosecution witness, Olawale, who was part of the team that arrested Sowore on August 4 in Lagos, had opened up his testimony in the trial on March 11, 2020.

He had told the court then that intelligence reports at their disposal revealed that Sowore was planning a revolution protest aimed at toppling the Buhari regime on August 5, 2019, but admitted in the cross-examination that there was no violence or revolution on the said date.

He was also asked if he was aware that Sowore participated in the protest in some cities on August 5, 2019, he said, “No, he (Sowore) was in custody at the national headquarters”.

To point an actual case of government overthrown, Falana asked the witness if he was aware that President Buhari led a coup to overthrow a democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari in 1983. The witness said he heard about it as a teenager during his secondary school days. 

He also asked if he was aware that President Buhari had in 2011 called for a revolution but the witness said he could not recall and he was not aware.

When asked if he was aware that those who participated in the protest in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Cross Rivers states were charged for unlawful assembly at a Federal High Court in Lagos and they had since been discharged and acquitted, Olawale again denied the knowledge.

At the end of the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, the court admitted his statement as evidence and marked it as exhibit 1. 

Meanwhile, ruling on the application filed by the prosecution counsel, Bagudu Sani, seeking for protection of the witnesses, the trial judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, held that only the defendants, legal representatives, and accredited journalists be allowed inside the courtroom in the subsequent proceedings. 

The judge noted that the number of people in the court would not exceed 20 in line with COVID-19 rules and social distancing.

The matter was adjourned till January 25, February 4, and 5, 2021 by 1 pm.

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