The Federal Government on Thursday re-arraigned Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on amended charges of treasonable felony and conspiracy.
The prosecution accused them of planning a protest tagged #RevolutionNow aimed at toppling the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The amendment of the charges reduced the original seven counts to two.
Charges of money laundering and cyberstalking Buhari by abusing him contained in the old charges have been removed in the newly filed charges.
Both Sowore and Bakare again pleaded not guilty to the two counts of conspiracy and treasonable felony.
The prosecution has complied with an order of the court directing it to pay the sum of N200,000 to the defendants as the cost for delaying the trial on Wednesday.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who was displeased with the prosecution’s handling of the case on Wednesday, had made the payment of the money to the defendants as a precondition to entertain the case on Thursday.
Earlier, before the defendants were made to take their pleas on Thursday, the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr Aminu Alilu, confirmed that the payment had been paid to the defendants on Wednesday.
He also applied that the amended two counts newly filed against the defendants on February 10, 2020, be substituted with the old charges filed on September 20, 2019.
He said, “As a law-abiding officer of the Attorney-General of the Federation, we have complied with my lord’s order regarding the cost and supply of some materials to the defence.
“We have the evidence of payment before my lord and it can be confirmed by the defence.
“Having said that, we will be applying for the substitution of an earlier charge filed on September 20, 2019, but dated September 19, 2019, to be substituted with two counts amended information dated February 10, 2020, and filed on February 11, 2020.”
Responding, defence counsel, Mr Abdul Mahmud, confirmed that the N200,000 cost was paid to the defence through the bank account of a senior member of the team, Mr Olayinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN, on Wednesday.