Mr Stanley Imhanruor, a lawyer in the defence team of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on Thursday took a swipe at the Department of State Services for refusing to release his clients from custody in violation of the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Imhanruor, in a statement sent to our correspondent on Thursday, described the DSS conduct as crude, adding that the agency had brought shame to Nigeria in the comity of civilised nations.
He said, “For the records, the worst form of corruption is disobedience of court orders by public officers and institutions. It is therefore shameful, hypocritical and benumbing that a government that claims to be fighting corruption is now notorious for disobedience of court orders.”
Calling for the release of the SaharaReporters publisher and Bakare, Imhanruor said the court order for the release of the defendants must be obeyed.
He stated, “To say the least, the DSS has brought shame on us as a people in the comity of civilised nations. This country belongs to all of us and not just a set of people who are privileged to be at the helm of affairs presently.
“The order of court directing the DSS to release the defendants must be obeyed by the DSS irrespective of whoever maybe wearing a frowning face. That is how democracy and the rule of law thrive and Nigeria should not be an exception.”
Imhanruor faulted the latest of the DSS’ excuses that it had not released the two men from custody because their sureties were not available to receive them.
He said by imposing a condition that was not part of the ones imposed by the Federal High Court, the DSS was trying to constitute itself into an appellate court.
Describing the conduct of the DSS as crude, he vowed that he and the defence team led by Mr Femi Falana (SAN), would not bow to the agency’s intimidation.
He stated, “The DSS then ridiculously accused our lead counsel, the highly respected Femi Falana, SAN, of playing to the gallery simply because the learned silk called on the DSS to release the defendants from illegal custody without further delay and in line with the order of court.
“It is crude and antiquated for the DSS to think that everyone will yield to its antics of crass intimidation and oppression.
“The DSS is not an appellate court and as such cannot sit on appeal over the decision of the court by giving fresh conditions for the release of the defendants who have since fulfilled their bail conditions as imposed by the court.
“Even in the days of military dictatorship, court orders were obeyed, let alone in a democracy. It is about time the DSS shielded its pre-colonial mentality.”