I hinted at this possibility on this page last week. They had denied this plot before. Last week, I noted here that there could be some correlation between the state’s plot to muzzle the press and a third term agenda.

One of the icons who had paid his dues on the struggle-for-democracy beat, Femi Falana (SAN) hinted at this during his closing remarks as Chairman of the occasion. He looked into the seed of these undemocratic times and noted that Buhari should be suspected of a third term agenda from the way his government has been warming up to fight the free press.

Specifically, Falana said the attack on free press in the country could be over a third term agenda being nursed by the federal government.
Curiously, he (Falana) also revealed much more about the unfolding agenda in Abuja. He accused Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja Federal High Court of bias against his client, Omoyele Sowore, saying the ‘Sahara Reporter’ publisher had been convicted without trial.

Falana noted that he had decided not to return to the Justice Ojukwu-led court. He revealed what judicial reporters had failed to report in Abuja: “Nobody has been given the kind of bail (condition) Sowore was given.

All those who looted the treasury have never had their movement restricted. Sowore has been granted bail, but his movement has been restricted to Abuja. His family is in America. He does not live in Abuja. He has no house in Abuja. Yet, he has been asked to stay in Abuja. The trial may last for 10 years, but he cannot leave Abuja. It has never happened in Nigeria before. Sowore has been banned as a journalist from speaking. As a politician, he cannot address a rally until the case is determined. We don’t know how long it will last.”

Falana said since he had been practising law for 37 years, he had never witnessed the sort of drama that transpired in the court last Wednesday during the trial of Sowore. He said he was shocked when he arrived at the court and saw gadgets being prepared for prosecution witnesses who could not testify in the open court…“ 

All proceedings and hearings should be in the open. So, if you are going to have anything in camera, for security reasons, for the interest of children, you will apply in the open court. But no application was made. And so, when I asked what happened and the judge pretended not to know, I said, ‘My lady, this case cannot go on because behind us, your court has colluded with the prosecutor to take witnesses behind us in your court and these are the gadgets here.’ I said the prosecutor had confided in me that the witnesses would pass through her door so that they would not be seen by us…

There are much more. But wait for this: There were also sacred facts at the unusual forum, which showed strangely that the judges under the military regime were more courageous than judges in a democracy. One of the panelists, an ace judicial editor was embarrassed by his own fact file. We will continue from there this week…

Note: This article is published as Inside Stuff with MARTINS OLOJA every Sunday in The Guardian and used by permission.

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