Court urges DSS to display weapons allegedly found in ex-NSA, Sambo Dasuki’s house
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ruled that the weapons allegedly found in the house of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) be displayed in the open court by the Department of State Service (DSS).
It also ruled that the weapons, comprising various guns, be tendered as exhibits by the DSS in the trial of the former NSA.
Justice Ahmed R. Mohammed, who delivered his ruling in an objection against the public display of the weapons in an open court by Dasuki yesterday, held that it was in the interest of justice and fair-play to both the prosecution and the defence that the alleged weapons be demonstrated in the court.
The judge said Dasuki, as a defendant in the trial, would not be prejudiced if the alleged weapons were displayed and tendered as exhibit by those who investigated the allegations against him.
He stated that the weapons were listed in the proof of evidence already made available to Dasuki by the government, which put him on trial.
A prosecution witness, Mr. Williams Obiora, an operative of the DSS, who testified behind a veil, was requested by the prosecution counsel, Oladipupo Okpeseyi (SAN), to identify and display weapons allegedly found in Dasuki’s house in 2015.
But counsel to Dasuki, Adeola Adedipe, objected to the move, saying that the trial was being conducted in semi-secrecy in line with the decision of the court.
He hinged his objection on Section 190 of the Evidence Act, Section 232 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015, as well as Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, and added that since the witness was testifying behind a veil, it was normal and appropriate that the weapons be displayed in the chamber of the judge.
However, the prosecution counsel urged the court to dismiss the objection on the ground that it was only official record of the state that cannot be displayed in the open court and not items recovered in the house of a suspect during investigation.
Justice Mohammed, after listening to both parties, agreed with the prosecution counsel and ordered that the weapons be brought to court for display on the next adjourned dates of May 22 and 24.
Obiora had told the judge that he was part of the team ordered by the Director-General of DSS in 2015 to carry out search on Dasuki’s house based on intelligence report that weapons injurious to national security were in his house.
He further testified that the team, led by one Ali Burara, armed with a search warrant, arrived at Dasuki’s residence in Asokoro and met a retinue of armed soldiers who prevented them from conducting a search.
He said that after about three hours, a military truck arrived the house and moved the soldiers out of the house to pave way for the search during which weapons were found and recorded on the search warrant.