Dasuki writes court, stops attending trial

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*Dasuki

Ime Akpan

The former national security adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) has written to the Abuja division of the Federal High Court that he would no longer attend his trial because of the federal government’s refusal to obey court orders directing his release from detention.

Dasuki, who has been in detention since 2015 is facing trial for alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms,  breach of public trust and diversion of public funds meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.

The letter reads: “Prevailing circumstances have prompted me to write this letter to the court, the hope of every Nigerian citizen. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the current administration has so much interfered with the judicial system, such that it has become practically impossible for the court to maintain her independence, the administration of justice.

“The resolve to continue detaining me, against the several orders of court and in brazen violation of the constitution is wrongful and arbitrary. It has inflicted physical, emotional and psychological torture on my family and me. The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria is not only high-handed, it is also arbitrary and in violation of both domestic and international laws on human rights.

“At this juncture, it will seem that the Nigerian government is not inclined to yield or obey the orders of any court of law; whether domestic or international. Ironically, the federal government still wants to ride on judicial wings to prosecute me, when it does not comply with orders that proceed from the court, especially in relations to me.

“At this point, I strongly believe that there must be an end to this hypocrisy and lopsided /partisan rule of law. Since the federal government has resolved not to comply with judicial orders directing my release, it is better for the court to also absolve me of the need to submit myself for further prosecution. Justice should be evenly dispensed, as opposed to same, being in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Consequently, the detainee was absent in court yesterday when his matter came up for hearing before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

His counsel, Mr. Victor Okwudiri, drew the court’s attention to the letter written and signed by the defendant, stating his intention to stop appearing in court for his trial until the prosecution obeyed the orders releasing him on bail.

But the prosecution counsel, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi, prayed the court to try Dasuki in absentia describing his (Dasuki’s) as an “affront to the court.”

He hinged his prayers on the on the grounds that the cases for which the former had been denied bail are independent of the instant case and described the defendant’s action as an

In his ruling, Justice Mohammed held that the court would not grant the prosecution’s request to proceed with the trial in absentia unless the prosecution deposed to an affidavit accusing the defence of willfully avoiding the court.

He said the court had in its previous ruling on April 10 settled the issue of Dasuki’s alleged refusal to attend court hearing.

The judge further said the prosecution’s request could only follow the applicant’s compliance with the ruling of the court on April 10 and adjourned the case to November 19.

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