By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to invite eminent lawyers to provide more information on developments in his trial.
Dasuki, who is standing trial on alleged illegal possession of firearms and money laundering, has been in detention of the Department of State Services (DSS) since 2015 despite various rulings of the court ordering his release on bail.
The defendant, at the resumed trail Wednesday, informed the court of an application filed and dated January 8, 2019, seeking the court to invite ‘Amici Curiae’ for the hearing of its December 11, 2018 application which he said has become a constitutional issue.
Adeola Adedipe, counsel to Dasuki, who moved the application, urged the court to step down hearing of the December 11, 2018 application pending the determination of the motion seeking the intervention of legal luminaries in the matter.
Those listed as Amici Curie the court can invite include: Chief Olowole Olanipekun (SAN); a former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); a former NBA President, constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN); teacher of law and major stakeholders in the legal profession, Dr Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN); foremost legal practitioner, Paul Usoro; and constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN).
The application, which is supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit, is predicated on the grounds that an Amicus Curiae (a friend of the court) can be invited by the court at any stage of the proceedings to make contributions on novel or legal or conundrums which may have far reaching implications on either the society or practice of the law.
In addition, the counsel said issues submitted for considerations in the defendant’s motion on notice of December 11, 2018 raised very serious and unusual situation, which have far reaching legal implications on the viability of the 1999 constitution as amended, the Nigerian criminal jurisprudence, rule of law, and sanctity/authority of the bench and the practice of law.
The affidavit deposed to by one Dolapo Kehinde (male), submitted that the court has inherent powers to invite and or request contributions from the enumerated Amicus Curiae, on their views with respect to the issues raised for consideration in the said application.
According to Kehinde, it is in the overall interest of justice, sanctity of the bench, preservation of the constitution and sustenance of the rule of law for the court to grant the instant application.
He averred that there is an imminent threat of absolute subversion of the rule of law, constitution, and authority of the bench and practice of law in Nigeria.
He said it is imperative that the court grants the application by inviting or requesting contributions from the enumerated legal stakeholders and such other persons the court may deem fit to invite for the hearing of notice filed by the defendant/applicant on December 11, 2018.
He said the motion on notice touches on very sensitive constitutional issues on usual circumstances which will impact on both the authority of the bench and practice of the law in Nigeria.
The deponent averred that the continued detention of the applicant is indicative of the fact that the complainant has no regard for the rule of law even in the slightest form and hence the need for the intervention of eminent lawyers in the matter.
Kehinde, who stated that the above enumerated Amici Curiae has been listed because they are major legal giant in the legal profession, added that the complainant has nothing to lose if the application is granted and a wholesome consideration is given to this conundrum which has the insidious capacity to completely annihilate not only the nation’s democracy but also the bar and the bench.
Dasuki, had on December 11, 2018, prayed the court for an order to adjourn sine die, his trial pending compliance by the federal government with the court’s judgment as delivered by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu.
Justice Ojukwu had on July 2, admitted Dasuki to bail in the sum of N200 million and declared that his continued detention by the DSS since 2015 was illegal and an aberration of the law.