Alex Enumah in Abuja
Former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja, to invite legal giants to seek their views on the implications of his continued detention by the federal government.
Dasuki, who is standing trial for alleged illegal possession of firearms and money laundering, has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since 2015.
There have been several rulings of the court ordering his release on bail.
For instance, on July 2, 2018, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu admitted Dasuki to bail and declared that his continued detention by the DSS since 2015 was illegal and an aberration of the law.
On December 11, 2018, the former NSA prayed the court for an order to adjourn his matter sine die, pending the federal government’s compliance with the court’s judgment as delivered by Justice Ojukwu.
At the resumed hearing on his case yesterday, he informed the court of an application he filed, asking the court to invite ‘Amici Curiae’ for the hearing of his December 11, 2018, application, which he said, had become a constitutional issue.
Amici Curiae is plural for Amicus Curiae which literally means `friend of the court’.
An amicus curiae is someone who is not a party to a case but who assists a court by offering information, expertise or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.
Counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Adeola Adedipe, 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.
In the December 11, 2018 application, Dasuki had prayed the court to adjourn the suit indefinitely just as he had questioned the competence of the lead prosecuting counsel in the matter.
Those listed as Amici Curiae are all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). They include two former Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association (NB), Chief Wole Olanipekun and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba; human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana; and Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi.
Others are Mr. Onyeachi Ikpeazu and the incumbent NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro.
He said the application was predicated on the grounds that an Amicus Curiae could be invited by the court at any stage of the proceedings.
“The person is invited to make contributions on novel or legal conundrums, which may have far-reaching implications on either the society or practice of the law.”
In addition, the counsel said issues submitted for consideration in Dasuki’s motion on notice of December 11, 2018, raised very serious and unusual situations. According to him, the issues raised 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.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Dolapo Kehinde, the deponent submitted that the court had inherent powers to invite or request contributions from the enumerated Amicus Curiae
He said this would enable them give 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 application.
He said the motion on notice touched on very sensitive constitutional issues on usual circumstances which would impact on both the authority of the bench and law practice in Nigeria.
The deponent averred that the continued detention of the applicant was indicative of the fact that the complainant had no regards for the rule of law, hence the need for the intervention of eminent lawyers in the matter.
The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, adjourned the matter till January 29.