A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday has set Tuesday, November 3, 2015 for ruling on applications for the release of the passport of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki (rtd), to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.
Meanwhile the court ruling on an application by the Federal Government for a secret trial of Dasuki is still being awaited.
Dasuki is standing trial on a five count charge bothering on illegal possession of firearms and possession of amounts of local and foreign currency in his residence contrary to Money Laundering Act.
The former NSA was first charged on August 24, 2015 on a one count charge of illegal possession of firearms.
He was immediately granted bail on self recognition, while the trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, ordered the Department of State Services to submit Dasuki’s passport, which it had seized, to the court registrar.
On October 26 when the case was supposed to be heard, prosecution filed four fresh charges and also asked for a secret trial to protect witnesses even though all the names of witnesses had been mentioned in the court processes.
On the same day, Dasuki asked the court for the release of his travel passport to enable him attend to his personal health issues abroad and objected to the secret trial, preferring open trial of the case for the benefit of the public.
Justice Ademola of the Federal High Court 6 then adjourned the case to Wednesday last week for ruling on the two issues being sought by both prosecution and defence, but the court failed to sit on that day because of a seminar organised for judges by the National Judicial Institute.
At the resumed hearing of the case this Monday, however, Justice Ademola revealed that Dasuki had filed an application for urgency to hear the motion for release of his passport as the date of appointment given by his medical doctor had since elapsed.
Counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daudu (SAN), said the former NSA needed his passport to honour a pending medical appointment and urged the judge to direct the Registrar of the court to release the passport.
Objecting to the application, Muhammed Diri, the Federal Director of Public Prosecution, argued that seizing Dasuki’s passport was the only condition upon which he was granted bail and that it has been discovered that the ailment of the accused could be treated at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Again reacting to Diri, Daudu argued that refusal to release the passport would be tantamount to punishing Dasuki and it would also appear as if he had already been sentenced “whereas it is only to secure his appearance”.
Daudu also argued that the bail condition granted Dasuki was on self-recognition.
He also cited various legal authorities to back his argument.
Justice Ademola, while deferring his ruling on the matter till Tuesday, then asked Diri to present any legal authority to support his opposition to the request.