The Department of State Services has released rights activist and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in February 2019 general elections, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
His co-detainee, Adebayo Bakare, was also freed.
They were freed at exactly 7:15 pm on Thursday, hours after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja expressed displeasure over their continued detention by the agency and had given the DSS 24-hour ultimatum to release the two men.
Their lead defence counsel, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), confirmed this development to our Correspondent on Thursday.
He said they were released about 7pm on Thursday.
“They were released about 30 minutes ago. They were released to one of our lawyers,” he said.
He also told our Correspondent that the agency had paid the sum of N100,000 awarded against it by Justice Ojukwu for making the court to adjourn till Friday for frivolous reasons on Thursday.
The two men, who are now being prosecuted by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony, were arrested in August over their call for ‘Revolution’ protest against what they described as “bad governance.”
But the had DSS continued to hold them in custody despite separate court orders ordering their release.
It came to a head on Thursday when the judge, who frowned at the conduct of the DSS, issued a fresh order directing the agency to release them within 24 hours.
Earlier in the day, a group of half-naked women from Sowore’s birthplace in Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, had stormed the Federal High Court, Abuja, to protest the continued illegal detention of their son by the DSS.
Most of the women, numbering about 30, were decked in white wrappers and bra, but with no clothes covering the rest of the upper parts of their bodies.
“Our clients have been released. They were released to a lawyer in our team,” said their lawyer, Femi Falana.
Sowore, 48, also ran unsuccessfully against President Muhammadu Buhari in the February polls.
In conjunction with his release, the DSS “also paid a symbolic fine of N100,000 ($276) for failing to obey an earlier judgement,” Falana said.
In October, a high court in Abuja, the federal capital, ordered that Sowore and his co-defendant Olawale Bakare be released on conditional bail, but the authorities kept them locked up.
Sowore and Bakare were accused of “treasonable felony”, “cyberstalking” the president and money laundering, among other charges.
Sowore, who runs news website Sahara Reporters which regularly reports on official graft, had called for nationwide protests against misrule in Nigeria.
A series of street protests have been held in Abuja calling for his release.