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Government seeks protection of witnesses in Dasuki’s trial

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
09 June 2016   |   1:38 am
The Federal Government yesterday sought the protection of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on the witnesses due to testify against former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki...
 Sambo Dasuki

Sambo Dasuki

The Federal Government yesterday sought the protection of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on the witnesses due to testify against former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, in the criminal charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.

In a fresh motion on notice brought to the court yesterday, the government prayed the court for an order to protect the identities of the witnesses.

It also prayed that the record of proceedings should not to be made accessible to the public. In the motion filed and argued by Federal Government lawyer, Oladipo Opeseyi, the applicant equally applied for an order to permit the witnesses to be addressed with pseudo names in the course of their testimonies.

The motion, among other issues, argued that Dasuki as a former NSA, a retired senior military officer and a crown prince of the Sokoto Caliphate, commands large followership in the country that maybe aggrieved by his trial.

The Federal Government also informed the court that most of the witnesses are security personnel and have expressed fears of being identified by members of the public who are sympathetic to Dasuki.

It also told the court that Dasuki while in office as NSA, imported a large cache of highly sophisticated arms and ammunitions into the country, such that have not been accounted for.

Besides, government also claimed that the huge ammunitions are feared to be in the possession of persons who are sympathetic to the defendant, among other arguments.

Counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daodu (SAN), however, told Justice Adeniyi Ademola that he has just been served with the motion and that he needed time to respond.

Justice Ademola consequently adjourned hearing of the motion till June 23.Meanwhile, a Federal High Court, yesterday, admitted Mr. Roberts Azibaola and his wife, Stella, to bail in the sum of N500 million each.

The Roberts, who were arraigned on Tuesday, are being prosecuted over alleged payment of $40million into their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).Roberts Azibaola is cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Delivering a ruling on the bail applications filed by the defendants’ Counsels, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) and Gordy Uche (SAN), the court held that there was no material evidence before the court that the Roberts and his wife would jump bail or frustrate their trial.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba further held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, provides that the bail conditions shall not be excessive. “All things considered, I grant the defendants bail on the following terms: that the defendants are admitted to bail in the sum of N500 million each, two sureties in like sum which shall in turn enter a bail bond of the sum of N500 million, the sureties must each be an owner of property in Asokoro or Maitama District of Abuja,” the judge held.

He also stated that the defendants would be remanded in prison custody pending when their bail conditions are met. The suit has been adjourned till June 28, July 4 and July 5 for hearing.