By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — The Federal Government, yesterday, failed to persuade the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to summon the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki( retd), to appear before it.

Former national security adviser of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki (R), speaks with his lawyer Ahmed Raji, during his trial at the federal high court in Abuja, on September 1, 2015. Nigerian prosecutors on September 1, 2015 slapped a charge of unlawful possession of arms against Dasuki. Dasuki was arraigned on a "one-count charge of being in possession of firearms without licence," Prosecutor Mohammed Diri told the federal high court in Abuja. AFP PHOTO
Former national security adviser of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki . AFP PHOTO

Dasuki is answering to a five-count criminal charge bordering on money laundering and alleged illegal  possession of firearms.

He had since pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as the court, in a ruling on November 3, permitted him to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

Dasuki, who told the court that he has cancer, was granted three-week medical leave by trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi. However,  a day after the order was made by the court, operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, besieged Dasuki’s home and had since prevented him from travelling.

In a ruling yesterday, Justice Ademola Adeniyi dismissed an  application filed by the Federal Government with a view to securing an order that will compel the presence of Dasuki in court.

Arguing the application, the Director of the Public Prosecution, DPP, Mr. Mohammed Diri, insisted that it was wrong for Dasuki to stay away from the court when motions bordering on his criminal trial were being heard.

He noted that the former NSA was absent on three consecutive times the case against him came up before the high court.

The DPP maintained that  Section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 made it mandatory that an accused person must always be present in court whenever his case is called up.

However, Justice Adeniyi dismissed the application, yesterday as “frivolous, unwarranted and lacking in merit.”

He agreed with counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, that the DPP misinterpreted the section of the ACJA upon which the application was anchored.

The judge held that going by the law, the presence of an accused person could be dispensed with in court during hearing on interlocutory applications.

He said the presence of Dasuki was not mandatory since the court is still  entertaining interlocutory applications from both parties.

The former NSA had filed an application before the judge to permit his absence in court for now, saying he has been under house arrest  since November 4.

In his fundamental right enforcement application, Dasuki, prayed the court for  an order directing the Federal Government and operatives of the DSS to vacate his house located at 13, John Kadija Street, Asokoro with immediate effect.

Sequel to the application, Justice Adeniyi summoned the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to appear in court to explain why Dasuki was barred from traveling despite the permission of the court.

Meantime, Justice Adeniyi has slated December 3 to hear an application asking the court to revoke the bail it granted to Dasuki.





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