By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
A court in Abuja was pushed to postpone the trial of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) on alleged N19B corruption charges because he was not brought to court by the Federal Government, again.
The Federal Capital Territory judge and lawyers waited in vain for about three hours, but there was no Dasuki.
Granted bails by four different judges in the last two years, the former NSA has remained in the custody of Department of State Services (DSS) without detention warrant.
Prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacob (SAN) expressed surprise to presiding Justice Baba Yusuf that Dasuki was not in court premises and did not give reasons.
He applied that the case be stood down for another one hour to enable him make contact with the agency responsible for Dasuki’s detention.
However, counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Joseph Daudu SAN informed Justice Baba Yusuf that the statement of Jacob was not helpful to the court and demanded to know the whereabouts of his client.
Daudu informed the court that he is apprehensive on the whereabouts of his client who has been in the custody of the DSS since 2015, adding that the only person who can authoritatively inform the court on whereabouts of the Ex-NSA is the prosecution counsel.
In his own comment, Chief Akin Olujinmi SAN, a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice informed the Court that there was no need for Dasuki trial to be stood down for another hour since the prosecution could not state categorically whether the defendant would be brought to court or not.
Olujimi said that the trial which ought to have commenced by 9amwas delayed to 11 am, adding that it would be unfair for the lawyers and the court to be kept waiting endlessly, more so when there is no certainty in sight.
Other lawyers in the matter agreed that the case be put off till another date.
Attempt by Jacobs to convince the court to stand down the case for the one hour to reach out to DSS was not appreciated by the judge.
Justice Baba Yusuf in his brief comment said that Jacobs as the leader of the prosecuting team ought to have known ahead on whether the defendant would be produced in court or not by the DSS.
The Judge said that it would be decent when categorical information is obtained on whether the defendant would be available for trial or not so that the precious time of the court would not be wasted in waiting endlessly.
The Judge, however gave the Federal Government till today May, 16, 2017 to produce Dasuki in court for the continuation of the trial and that the prosecution should do the needful to assist the court with the presence of the defendant in court.
It would be recalled that this is fourth time the inability of the federal government to produce Dasuki in court would force his trial to be adjourned.
Since 2015, when he was arraigned before different high courts, Dasuki has been granted bail by Justice Adeniyi Ademola and Justice Ahmed Rahmat Mohhamed of the Federal High Court in the charges of unlawful possession of firearms brought against him but the bails were not obeyed by the government.
At the two FCT High Courts where the ex-NSA was arraigned for money laundering, he was granted bail by Justice Peter Affen and Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, but the bail orders were not also obeyed by government when Dasuki perfected the conditions.
The ECOWAS Court had also in a judgment ordered the Federal Government last year to immediately release Dasuki from the unlawful custody and imposed a fine of N15M on the government but up till now the judgment is yet to be implemented by government.
Apart from Dasuki, Salisu Shuaib, Aminu Baba-Kusa and two others who were enjoying their own bails were in court but left when the information came that the first defendant would not be brought before the court.