Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
An Abuja High Court has rejected the plans by the Department State Services (DSS) to confine the detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Muhammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) to its premises for the purpose of allowing Dasuki to have access to his lawyers for the purpose of preparing his defence to multiple 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 yesterday, 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 to 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 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 the prosecution counsel, Jabobs, replied on April 18 to the effect that the access to Dasuki would be granted at a convenient room and unhindered in a special room at the DSS headquarters.
He said in order not to put a question mark on the trial, Dasuki must be allowed access to his lawyers in a neutral place in the interest of fair trial.
Justice Yusuf who had earlier indicated that he was not going to grant any further adjournment however saw reason with the defence and adjourned the case till June 6 for the DSS to comply with his April 6 ruling.
The judge ordered that as from yesterday till Friday, Dasuki must be brought by the DSS operatives to the premises of the Abuja High Court as a neutral ground where Dasuki should be allowed unhindered access to his lawyers to enable him prepare adequate defence in the criminal charges against him.
Justice Yusuf asked Jacobs to prevail on his client to always obey orders of the court in order not to impede the trial.