The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Friday, revised the conditions attached to the bail earlier granted to former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd.). This was sequel to a formal application by Dasuki to the appellate court to review the conditions which according to him are stringent and unable to meet.
Dasuki is standing trial at both the Federal High Court and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja. The federal government is accusing him of diverting monies meant to fight insurgency in the north east as well as illegal possession of firearms. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was admitted to bail by the respective courts but the government is yet to release him even after meeting all the bail conditions. Dasuki consequently approached the Federal High Court to challenge his continued detention by the DSS since December 2015 till date.
Delivering judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, the Federal High Court on July 2, 2018, granted Dasuki bail, but attached conditions, which the ex-NSA found too stringent to meet. Unsatisfied, Dasuki appealed to the Court of Appeal requesting a review of the bail conditions by the lower court.
In its judgment, the appellate court in a unanimous decision expunged the requirement that Dasuki produce a Level 16 civil servant, who must own a property worth N100million within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as surety. Justice Stephen Adah, who delivered the lead judgment of the 3-man panel held that the inclusion of civil servants as surety was an oversight on the part of the court.
Part of the new conditions set by the Court of Appeal was that Dasuki produce a surety, who must be a Level 16 official in the Civil Service of either the Federal or state government, who must own a property worth N100m within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Dasuki found this part of the latest conditions difficult to meet and returned to the court, via an application, and prayed for a further review. He stated, in the application that it was difficult to find a Level 16 Civil Servant who could own a N100m worth of property in Abuja through his legitimate earnings.
Justice Adah, in the Appeal Court judgment on Friday, in the appeal marked: CA/A/806/2019, said the court’s decision to request that Dasuki produce a civil servant as surety was an oversight. He said, “Of concern to us is that, we as a court must be ready and sensitive enough not to do anything that will run against the laws of the land.
“The issue of involving civil servants or public officers in the service of the federation or the state in bail of people accused of offences has never been the practice anywhere that is civilized, and we should stop it at this level. It was an error that we allowed that to stay. So, it is in this respect that we will act ex debito justitiae (as a matter of right) to ensure that that aspect of the condition is removed from the conditions of bail that were granted.
“It is in this respect that we grant this application, thereby inaugurating a new regime of bail. Bail is now granted to the appellant/applicant in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum. The sureties shall be resident within the jurisdiction of the trial court and each of which shall furnish evidence of ownership of the property in Abuja. This shall be the order of the court,” Justice Adah said. Justices Abubakar Yahaya and Emmanuel Agim, who were also on the panel, agreed with the lead judgment