Government agrees to consolidate charges against Dasuki
‘Buhari must comply with ECOWAS court’s verdict’
To avoid further delay in the trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the Federal Government has agreed to consolidate the charges brought against him in courts of the same jurisdiction.
Dasuki may now face trial at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja presided over by Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf after approval of the consolidation by the Chief Justice of the FCT High Court, Ishaq Bello.
The prosecution counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacob (SAN), agreed to the consolidation and therefore appealed to the Justice Baba-Yusuf’s court for the consideration of the application of the defendant to avoid further arguments, applications and motions on the issue which he said might further delay trial.
“I want the situation where the two case files are before your lordship and use case management to put these cases together. We want these matters to be decided,” Rotimi said.
Dasuki, in an application through his counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), asked that files of cases before the court presided over by Justice Baba-Yusuf and another court presided over by Justice Peter Affen, be brought together in consolidation before the instant court. Daudu appealed to the court to allow the transfer of the case before Justice Affen of the same FCT High Court, Maitama so that it would be a matter of expeditious process of justice in the trial.
The court resumed after a brief stand-down of the matter to enable the counsel to meet on details regarding the consolidation of charges and the involvement of the Chief Justice of the FCT High Court.
Justice Baba-Yusuf, after hearing an application by Daudu for the adjournment of the case till October 21, when the sister case was also slated to be heard by Justice Affen, agreed on the date and the need to wait for the outcome of a meeting with the Chief Justice on the issue. The matter was therefore adjourned till October 21, 2016.
Dasuki, at the last sitting of the court in July, alleged before an Abuja High Court that the Federal Government planned to ambush him with double jeopardy in the three criminal charges against him in three different high courts in Abuja.
The former NSA said that the government, in the quest to nail him, had engaged in a gross abuse of court and legal processes by instituting various criminal charges against him on just one issue.
In a motion he filed to challenge the alleged abuse of court process by government, Dasuki said that it was wrong in law and even against natural justice for the government to arraign him before two different high courts of the Federal Capital Territory on the same sections of the law and on the same alleged arms fund.
In the motion filed by his lead counsel, Daudu, the ex-NSA insisted that the two charges be consolidated by the authorities of the court in the interest of justice in order to rescue him from double jeopardy allegedly planned for him by government.
The plan to consolidate charges against Dasuki came barely 24 hours after the ECOWAS court sitting in Abuja declared his re-arrest and detention by the Federal Government illegal. It ordered the immediate release of the former NSA, and awarded him N15 million damages.
Meanwhile, a pro-democracy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to release Dasuki in obedience to the decision of the ECOWAS court.
The group says it is disappointing that over 24 hours after the ruling was delivered, the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) has “embarked on mere sematic gymnastics”, saying his office would need time to study the verdict.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was shocking that rather than show remorse, apologise to Nigerians for the brazen display of authoritarianism by the secret police in this matter of the prolonged detention of a citizen of Nigeria, Malami had offered a tepid excuse for the persistent breach of the constitutional rights of Dasuki.