By Owolola Adebola
Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama, Abuja, has dismissed the application filed by a former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), asking the court to adjourn his N28.3 billion fraud trial sine die.
Dasuki had on January 9, 2019 through a motion filed by his counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, urged the court to adjourn indefinitely. The intent of the motion was also to compel the Federal Government to comply with the judgement of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court, Abuja which on July 2, 2018 ordered his unconditional release.
At the resumed sitting on February 27, 2019, Justice Baba-Yusuf, in dismissing the application, held that “Justice Ojukwu is empowered by law to enforce an order that she gave, therefore, the only court competent to hear the application is the Federal High Court from which the order was given.”
Prosecuting counsel, O.A. Atolagbe, then urged the court to give a date for trial to allow the prosecution bring more witnesses, to testify against Dasuki and his co-defendants – Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Attahiru Bafarawa, a former governor of Sokoto State, and his son, Sagir; Shuaibu Salisu, Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA; Bashir Yuguda, former Minister of State for Finance.
The trial judge thereafter fixed April 16, 17 and 18, 2019 for “definite hearing”.
Justice Baba-Yusuf had also dismissed an application for leave of the court by Dasuki’s defence team, urging the court to set up a panel of six Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, to give legal opinion as to whether the trial could continue while the order for his release was yet to be complied with.
However, the trial judge dismissed same, holding that Dasuki did not convince the court that the case could not be effectively determined without the input of the SANs, because “if invited, they will not come to drive any fresh point of law”.
It will be recalled that since the trial of Dasuki began in 2015, he has been held by the operatives of the Department of State Services, and has not been present in court to face his amended 32-count charge.