An Abuja magistrate has ordered that activist Omoyele Sowore be remanded in prison.
Sowore and four other members of the Revolution Now movement were arrested and detained while staging a “crossover protest” on New Year’s Eve.
The defendants were accused of unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance. They pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.
But they will remain in jail until their case is heard again by 11am on Tuesday, the judge ruled.
“We are in court awaiting prison transfer to Kuje,” Sowore said in a social media post minutes after the ruling. “We are resolute and promise never to give up until Nigeria is liberated.”
Sowore had told the court that the police arraigned him without informing his lawyers. The police, instead, tried to impose a “strange” lawyer on the defendants, he said.
Sowore’s lawyer, Abubakar Marshal of the Femi Falana Chambers, later learned of the abrupt arraignment.
He arrived in court minutes before the magistrate Taiye Mabel read her ruling.
The judge, according to ObjecTV, said that the defendants were entitled to bail but were to be remanded in custody for another 24 hours to enable their lawyer apply for the bail in writing.
Mabel initially ruled that Sowore could represent himself without a lawyer but she eventually refused him bail after his lawyer showed up and made a verbal application for bail.
Marshal offered to stand for the defendants and present them whenever needed by court, but the judge insisted that they must first be remanded in prison custody for at least a day while their lawyer uses the time to file a written application.