The prosecution in the trial of Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare reported to a Federal High Court on Thursday that it has paid the N200,000 cost awarded against it the previous day by the court on grounds of delay.

At the commencement of proceedings on Thursday, lead prosecution, Aminu Alilu, confirmed that the payment was made to the defendants on Wednesday.

Alilu 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 lawyer, 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.

The defendants were later arraigned on the amended two-count charge filed by the prosecution.

The prosecution accused them, in the new charge, of planning a protest tagged #RevolutionNow aimed at toppling the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The amendment of the charge reduced the original seven counts to two.

The prosecution has discarded the earlier alleged offences of money laundering and cyber-stalking Buhari by abusing him.

After the arraignment, the prosecution could not proceed to trial owing to the defence’s observation that the prosecution was yet to serve it with copies of the digital optical disc (DVD) it planned to rely on.

Responding on the issue of the DVD, Alilu said the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who recently took over the case from the Department of State Services (DSS) was not aware of the court’s order for the service of the materials on the defence.

He assured that the prosecution was much ready for the case and would present its witnesses within four days.

Ruling, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu noted that the court had long issued the order for the service of the materials on the defendants.

Justice Ojukwu granted the prosecution’s request for two weeks to compile the materials and have them served on the defence.

She then adjourned till March 11 for trial
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