By Alex Enumah
Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) for the first time in 14 months appeared in court to stand trial in his alleged illegal possession of firearms and money laundering charges.
He appeared before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja, one of the courts where the federal government is prosecuting him on the alleged infractions.
The former NSA to former President Goodluck Jonathan, was re-arraigned before Justice Mohamed in 2017 on an amended seven count charge bordering on alleged unlawful possession of firearms and money-laundering.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail but the federal government refused to recognise his bail and kept him in custody for four years until last Christmas Eve when he was allowed to go home in line with his bail terms.
The refusal of the government to recognise his bail forced him to shun his trial in all courts in the country until his bail was recognised.
Apart from the Federal High Court, Abuja, Dasuki is also standing trial in two separate suits before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of a Federal Capital Territory High Court (FCT) in Maitama.
Dasuki’s lawyer, Victor Okwudiri, had in 2018 informed the court of a letter written and signed by the defendant, stating his intention to stop appearing in court for his trial until the prosecution obey the orders releasing him on bail.
The letter dated November 12, 2018 and addressed to the Court’s Registrar, was titled, ‘Unabated Persecution of Mohammed Sambo (rtd) by the Federal Government of Nigeria’.
Dasuki in the letter had asked the court to: “absolve him of any obligation of appearing at his trial, since the office of the State Security Service, an agent of government detaining him has also refused to respect the various court order for his bail”.
The former NSA stated that he was granted bail at different occasions by various court’s in all the charges he was standing trial but the Federal government had refused to obey the orders.
According to Dasuki, he was re-arrested at Kuje Prison in Abuja on December 29, 2015, shortly after he perfected his bail in respect of the three sets of charges filed against him before different judges.
However, following his release on December 24 from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) where he was held for four years, Dasuki decided to resume trial.
When the matter was called, Dasuki’s lawyer, Olukayode Ariwoola Junior, asked the court to strike out two applications pending before the court because his client had been released.
Prosecution lawyer, Dipo Okpeseyi, urged the court to fix a date for proper commencement of trial.
Justice Mohammed subsequently adjourned trial till March 11 and 12.