Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
An Abuja High Court has rejected the plan by the Department of State Security to confine the detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Muhammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) to its premises for him to have access to his lawyers for the purpose of preparing his defence to the charges filed against him by the Federal Government.
The court ordered that Dasuki must be allowed to have access to his lawyers at a neutral place instead of the premises of the DSS headquarters in Abuja so as to enable him prepare adequately for his defence in the trial.
Justice Husain Baba Yusuf, who issued the order in Abuja on Monday directed that henceforth the detained ex-NSA should be allowed by the DSS operatives to access his lawyers within the premises of the Federal Capital Territory judiciary headquarters in Maitama, Abuja, between Monday and Friday this week.
The judge’s ruling followed a complaint by Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr Adeola Adedipe, that the legal team for Dasuki had not been allowed to have direct access to him in spite of a court order made on April 6.
At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had told the judge that the case was slated for commencement of trial and that he was fully ready with his witnesses.
However, Adedipe rose and told the court that he was not ready for any trial because the ruling of April 6 which ordered the DSS to allow the lawyers access to their client for briefing so as to prepare his defence had not been complied with by the security agency.
The counsel claimed that following the April 6 ruling, a letter by Dasuki’s lead counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, dated April 13, was dispatched to the DSS requesting for permission to access Dasuki outside the DSS office as contained in the ruling of the court.
To their surprise, Adedipe said that the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jabobs replied on April 18 to the effect that unhindered access to Dasuki would be granted at a convenient and special room at the DSS headquarters.
The counsel insisted that because of the confidentiality required in such a briefing between a client and his lawyer, the DSS letter could not be acted upon, hence the defence was not ready for trial until it has been afforded the opportunity to access Dasuki on a neutral ground for proper briefing.
The same position was canvased by Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Solomon Umoh, SAN. and Abioldun Layonu, SAN, who are counsel to other defendants in the trial.
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