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Friday 27th November 2020,
Hope for Nigeria

Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, declined to allow the Federal Government try the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) secretly.

Dasuki Sambo The four-count criminal charge pending against Dasuki before the court borders on money laundering and alleged illegal possession of firearms. While refusing the application by the Federal Government, trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi ordered that the defendant, who had been in detention since November 3, 2015, be granted access to his family members and lawyers.

 

 

 

 

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The court said there was no point for it to make an order allowing the government to mask the witnesses billed to testify in the matter or to allow them to bear pseudo names. Justice Adeniyi noted that the Federal Government had, in the charge against Dasuki, supplied names and addresses of the 11 witnesses it intended to call against the defendant, a document he said was already in the public domain.

 

Besides, the court maintained that there was no evidence to indicate that the life of any of the witnesses was being threatened in any way, stressing that the defendant was not charged for acts of terrorism. It, therefore,  refused the Federal Government’s application for only lawyers and accredited journalists to be allowed inside the court room during the trial. Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, earlier told the court that operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, kept  his client incommunicado since December 29, 2015, when he was re-arrested upon perfection of his bail conditions.

 

Raji, who insisted that the protracted incarceration of his client had greatly hampered his right to prepare his defence, told the court that the DSS recently blocked Dasuki’s 95-year-old father from seeing him. Consequently, Justice Adeniyi ordered the security agency to grant Dasuki access to his visitors on Tuesdays and Thursdays for at least two hours. He said such meetings should take place in the Interview Room at the DSS Headquarters and the Federal High Court premises in Abuja. Specifically, the court directed that the defendant should on each of the visiting days, be granted access to four lawyers and two members of his family. However, Justice Adeniyi declined Dasuki’s plea to be discharged from the case owing to his continued detention.

 

The court dismissed the application as lacking in merit, saying Dasuki should initiate contempt action against the Federal Government if he felt that his detention was in contravention of subsisting court orders. The court went ahead and fixed May 18 and 19 to hear the substantive case against the defendant.

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