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, to appear before it.
Dasuki is facing a five-count criminal charge bordering on money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.
He had since pleaded not guilty to the charge and even got a little bonus… in a ruling on November 3, the court permitted him to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
Dasuki told the court that he has cancer so he was granted a three-week medical leave by trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi.
Things took funny turn right after that because just a day after the order was made by the court, operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, stormed Dasuki’s home and have since prevented him from travelling.
That was the situation that triggered the now immortal words coming from Justice Adeniyi when he said “Court order must be obeyed. What is wrong in the defendant travelling and coming back to face trial? Only a fit person can stand for trial and investigation. My own orders will not be flouted.”
Ok, so maybe not immortal, but famous words anyway. Do you think this has anything to do with the DSS not having much success with this judge? Just saying.
In a ruling yesterday, Justice Ademola Adeniyi dismissed an application filed by the Federal Government hoping to get an order that will compel Dasuki to appear in court in person.
Arguing for 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 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.
But Justice Adeniyi didn’t agree with him. No Sir. The judge dismissed the application 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 based.
The judge held that going by the law, the presence of an accused person in court during hearing could be stepped aside for interlocutory applications.
What is interlocutory anyway? I hate big words
Interlocutory is a legal term which can refer to an order, sentence, decree, or judgment, given in an intermediate stage between the beginning and end of a law suit. It is used to provide a temporary or provisional decision on an issue. So, an interlocutory order is not final and is not subject to immediate appeal.
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 application to enforce his fundamental human rights, Dasuki, asked the court for an order directing the Federal Government and operatives of the DSS to leave his house located at 13, John Kadiya Street, Asokoro with immediate effect.
Following that 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.
He is yet to do so, by the way.
Meantime, Justice Adeniyi has set December 3 to hear an application asking the court to revoke the bail it granted to Dasuki.