By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) in the $2.1 billion fraud charge brought against him by the Federal Government was put off on Wednesday as a mark of sympathy to him for the loss of his father, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki.
Both the prosecution and the defence counsel agreed that the trial be adjourned because the mood was not proper for the trial of the ex-NSA whose father died on Monday in Abuja and was buried on Tuesday in Sokoto.
Sambo is the first child of the late Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki and had been prevented from seeing his father while in the hospital despite several appeals.
Dasuki was not brought to court on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) that has been detaining him since December.
His counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, told journalists that the former NSA was still mourning the sudden passage of his father.
The counsel hinted that although the matter was not officially mentioned before Justice Baba Yusuf of the Abuja High Court who was billed to conduct the trial, all lawyers involved in the matter felt that the period was not good for the trial and hence their joint agreement for an adjournment till December 7, 2016.
Apart from Dasuki, all other defendants in the matter comprising former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, former Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Bashir Yuguda, Director Finance and Supply in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Salisu Shuaibu and Alhaji Aminu Baba Kusa were in court.
The Federal government had on Tuesday claimed that it granted permission to detained ex-NSA to go Sokoto to mourn and pay last respect to his late father but that the offer was turned down on the ground that his detention was unwarranted, unlawful and unconstitutional and that he would prefer to pray for the sultan in the custody.
But his lawyer said that the purported offer was doubtful because none of his lawyers was contacted on the issue.
He said: “As his counsel, we are not aware of that offer. Our client has not told us anything of that nature. We would have expected that if such a gesture was going to be made to him, we as his counsel should have been involved so that we can advise him properly. As I am speaking to you, I am hearing of this for the first time.”
Raji said there was no basis for the continued detention of Dasuki by government having being granted bail by three different high courts in Abuja in the charges against him as well as the order of the ECOWAS court for his unconditional release in the case for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to freedom of liberty.
He said “Dasuki has been granted three bails and one outright judgement for his release by the ECOWAS court which is binding on Nigeria.”
Raji said that Nigeria as a respected member of the ECOWAS community ought to have released Dasuki on the strength of the court judgment.