The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court,Tuesday, declined to allow the Federal Government to try the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, secretly.
The four-count criminal charge pending against Dasuki before the court borders on money laundering and his alleged illegal possession of firearms. While refusing the application by FG, trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi ordered that the defendant who has been in detention since November 3, 2015, should be granted access to his family members and lawyers. The court said there was no point for it to make an order allowing FG to mask the witnesses billed to testify in the matter or to allow them to bear pseudo names. Justice Adeniyi noted that FG had in the charge against Dasuki, supplied names and addresses of the 11 witnesses it intends 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 FG’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 has greatly hampered his right to prepare his defence, told the court that the DSS recently blocked Dasuki’s 95 years old father from seeing him. He said Dasuki’s aged father who had gone to see his detained son along with the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki and other family members, was denied access to the defendant. 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.