The detention of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) since December 2015, which has prevented him from accessing his lawyers for defence in criminal charges filed against him by the government, scuttled the trial before an Abuja High Court today.
The trial, scheduled for today before Justice Peter Affen, could not hold as Dasuki maintained that he had not been able to brief his legal team because of his continued detention since last year after being granted bail by three different courts.
Dasuki who was represented by his counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, has however, filed a motion on notice before the court, asking for the order of the court to direct the federal government or any of its agents acting on its behalf to provide him adequate time to prepare his defence in the 19 count charges of offences filed against him and which he had been admitted to bail.
In the motion dated April 19, Dasuki prayed the court to compel the federal government to give access to any counsel of his choice during working days between Mondays and Fridays at J.B Daudu Legal Chamber in Abuja pending hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed at the court of appeal to stay proceedings at the Abuja High Court.
The former NSA also prayed the court to order the federal government to provide adequate facilities for him in order to enable him study the charge and bundle of evidences attached to the charges against him.
The new motion was predicated on five grounds which include that he stands for trial on a 19 count charge of offences that he had been admitted to bail and under Section 36 (b) of the 1999 Constitution he reserved the right to adequate time and facilities from the preparation of his defence.
Dasuki also claimed that he needed at least, 20 interactive and instructive sessions with his lawyers on record, or any counsel of his choice in the preparation of his defence for trial.
In a 13-point affidavit in support of the motion and sworn to by one Ahmed Usman, it was averred that Dasuki was admitted to bail on December 21, 2015 and subsequently met all the bail condition that he was released but was immediately rearrested by the operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) without any court order.
The affidavit said “Since Dasuki’s rearrest he has not been allowed access to any of his lawyers neither has he being provided with adequate facilities for him to prepare his defence and that the continued detention since December 2015 has denied him access to his lawyers and adequate facilities to study the charges and get set for his trial.”
It was also averred that Dasuki only see and discuss with his lawyers briefly whenever he is produced in court on a date when the trial is slated before the High Court. He, therefore, urged the court to order the complainant to obey the rule of law in his trial in the interest of justice.
At the resumed hearing today, EFCC Counsel, Mr. Olaoluwa Atelagbe told Justice Affem that he has been served with a copy of Dasuki’s motion praying for access to his lawyers.
The EFCC counsel, however, requested for an adjournment to enable him to react to the motion.
Meanwhile, the motion has been slated for 25th May 2016 for hearing.