Friday, April 16, 2021

Ex-Justice minister, Olujimi, flays Nigerian gov’t for frustrating Dasuki trial


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
tiamin rice

A former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Akin Olujimi, has accused the Federal Government of frustrating the trial of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, by serially failing to produce him in court for trial.

Mr Olujimi told an FCT High Court that it was irritating for government to have persistently and consistently refused to produce Dasuki in court to face the criminal charges brought against him.

He also faulted the “flagrant disobedience to the bails granted him by several courts”.

Since 2015, when Mr Dasuki was arraigned before different high courts, he has been granted bail by Justice Adeniyi Ademola and Justice Ahmed Rahmat Mohamed of the Federal High Court as well as Justice Peter Affen and Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Courts.

The ECOWAS Court had also in a judgement ordered the Federal Government to release him immediately from the unlawful custody and imposed a fine of N15,000,000 on the government but up to now all the judgments have not been obeyed.

The outburst of the former Minister of Justice today at resumed hearing was provoked by the failure of the government for the second time in one week to produce Mr Dasuki in court to enable him to defend himself.

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The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the defence of government that the inability to produce Mr Dasuki in court for trial was an oversight was not acceptable and not tenable because the government having taken custody of Dasuki in spite of the bail granted him by four judges, ought to have created records on the date the defendant is to be brought to court to defend himself in the charges against him and in the interest of justice.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to the Federal Government Rotimi Jacobs had recalled before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, that Mr Dasuki was not produced in court on Tuesday and that today he was not brought to court by those taking his custody.

Mr Jacobs told the judge that he has made several attempts to reach the authorities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to liaise with the authorities of the SSS to produce the ex-NSA in court.

The senior counsel said the only response he received after the EFCC had linked up with SSS was that the defendant (Dasuki) would not be brought to court. The prosecution counsel apologised to the court on the development and requested Justice Baba-Yusuf to grant him an adjournment so as to get his defendant in court.

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Counsel to Mr Dasuki, Joseph Daudu, who expressed shock over the development, expressed sympathy with the prosecution.

He said the inter-agency issues would have been responsible for the refusal of the SSS to bring his client to court.

Mr Daudu recalled that the court had earlier granted his client bail to enable him come for the defence from his house but regretted that in spite of the fact that court orders are meant to be obeyed, the federal government had chosen to refuse to obey several bail orders.

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Mr Olujimi who stood for Salisu Shuaib, a former Director of Finance in Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in his on comment noted that the other defendants in the criminal charges have been coming regularly for the trial but lamented that the prosecution has not been ready to allow the trial to flow.

“I find it irritating for somebody to tell a prosecutor that the failure to produce a defendant in a criminal matter is an oversight. It is absurd and the need to keep record of day to day of the defendant in order to allow him to defend himself in the criminal charges brought against him.

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“No one should foist a state of hopelessness on the court but I urged the court to order that those keeping Dasuki should ensure that they are alive to their responsibility of producing him in the next adjourned day.”

In his short ruling, Justice Baba Yusuf admitted that the prosecution counsel had always been passionate to have the trial conducted but that his dilemma emanated from the fact that he is not in control of the defendant.

The judge however directed Mr Jacob to pass the message to his clients that there is the need for them to produce Mr Dasuki in court as required by law.

It would be recalled that this is the fifth time the authorities refused to produce Mr Dasuki in court.

Although Mr Jacob had promised that Mr Dasuki would be produced in court on Wednesday, he however failed as SSS did not bring him to court.

Meanwhile, Justice Baba Yusuf has fixed July 11 and 12, 2017 for the commencement of the trial.

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