The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were released on compassionate grounds.
The minister who spoke to the BBC Hausa and the Hausa Service of the Voice of America debunked news reports that the duo were released following external pressure.
In the interview, Malami categorically denied pressure was mounted on the Federal Government at home or abroad to compel the release of the detainees.
According to a statement by his media aide, Dr Umar Jibril Gwandu on Friday, Malami denied receiving a formal communication from any American Senator, adding that the discussion during the visit of the American Ambassador to Nigeria at the Presidential Villa were not in any way connected to the accused persons.
He said the Federal government had options to the bails granted the defendants by the courts, which included appealing against them, asking the court to review the order or applying for a stay of execution.
“Even if we received any communication from them, that will never be the basis on the part of the Federal Government to obey or disobey court orders emanating from Nigeria,” Malami said.
“The only reasons for the release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki revolved around our commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court orders and compassionate grounds.
“It is important to understand the fact that as far as the law is concerned and in relation to the Nigerian justice system, one has multiple options after a court has ruled on a matter,” he explained.
The minister explained that the two cases were treated in accordance with the above provisions of the law, explaining that the cases of Dasuki and Sowore were treated on their individual merit and not in relation to one another or any primordial sentiments.
On Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the AGF said the Federal Government does not interfere with the cases that are being prosecuted by state governments.–Daily Trust