Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday withdrew from Omoyele Sowore’s fundamental human rights case following a publication by his online news portal, Sahara Reporters, that the judge had been bribed to influence the outcome of the case.
Sowore had following his re-arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) on December 6 and the inability of the DSS to bring new charges against him, filed for a fundamental rights enforcement suit seeking for his unconditional release.
Justice Mohammed who was supposed to hear the case on Monday however withdrew, saying that it was the fair thing to do following the publication by Sahara Reporters accusing him of taking bribes for case involving, Senator Gabriel Suswan, Benue Ex-Governor.
The judge noted that Sowore’s online paper in 2016 published the report, adding that similar report was published in June 2019 which made him withdraw from the trial. Suswan’s case was eventually transferred to Justice Okon Abang.
Justice Mohammed noted that if he continues with Sowore’s case and then rule in favour of him, it would be perceived as having been blackmailed by the #RevolutionNow convener, and should he ruled against him, he could be perceived as being vengeful.
The judge consequently requested that the case file be sent back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, for reassignment to another judge.
“Justice is rooted in confidence,” the judge said.
“That is to say none of the parties should have fear or apprehension that he will not get justice before a court,” he added.
His decision was supported by Mr. Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana.
Mr. Falana noted that he was aware of the publications against the judge on Sahara Reporters and that in view of the judge’s observations, it was proper for him to withdraw from the case.
Mr. G. Agbadua, the counsel to the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, noted that he would not comment on the case so that it would not be misconstrued as an attempt to delay the hearing.
Abubakar Abdullahi, the counsel for the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, noted that he would leave the decision to the discretion of Justice Mohammed.
Justice Mohammed consequently relied on the statement of Mr. Falana to withdraw from the case.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.