…..grants ex-Sokoto gov, Bafarawa leave to visit Mecca
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Justice Peter Affen of an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, Wedneday, ordered the Federal Government to grant the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, access to his lawyers.
The court said there was need for Dasuki who is facing a 22-count criminal charge before it, to have private meetings with his lawyers to enable him to effectively prepare his defence.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Dasuki alongside the former Minister of Finance, Bashir Yuguda, former Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu, former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and his son, Sagir Attahiru.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants connived and diverted over N19billion from the office of the NSA, prior to the 2015 general elections.
A company it said served as conduit pipe for the alleged illegal diversion of the fund, Dahaltu Investment Limited, was also cited as the 4th defendant in the matter.
All the defendants had on December 15, 2015, pleaded not guilty to the charge against them.
Meantime, the ruling yesterday made it the third time courts have ordered the federal government to allow the former NSA to have access to his legal representatives.
It will be recalled that similar orders had been made by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja and Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf of the Abuja High Court, where Dasuki was also charged to by the federal government.
The former NSA has been in detention since November 3, 2015. Even though the tree trial courts granted him bail, however, the defendant was on December 29, 2015, re-arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, after his release from Kuje prison upon perfecting the bail conditions.
Meanwhile, Justice Affen, yesterday, ordered that the defendant must be allowed to have unfettered consultation with his lawyers from June 13 to June 22.
He said the briefing which must be confidential, should hold on the appointed days between 9am to 4pm within the premises of the high court.
Besides, the court, yesterday, granted one-month permission to former Governor of Sokoto State, Bafarawa to go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser Hajj.
Justice Affen gave the permission following an application Bafarawa filed through his lawyer, Prince Latif Fagbemi, SAN. The application was not opposed by the EFCC.
The Judge ordered the Registrar of the court to release Bafarawa’s travelling documents to enable him to partake in the Muslim religious rites in Saudi Arabia from June 5 to July 5.
Trial of the defendants was subsequently fixed for July 14 and 15.