The resumed trial of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and four others was on Tuesday rescheduled following the inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to produce him in court.
The former NSA and others, namely a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and his son, Sagir, and Shuaibu Salisu, a former director of finance in the office of the NSA, are standing trial for criminal abuse of public trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N33.6 billion.
Upon resumption of the case at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, a senior advocate of Nigeria, told the court that Mr. Dasuki had been released by the EFCC having perfected his bail conditions.
He however said Mr. Dasuki could not come out immediately from where he was being detained by the State Security Service, SSS, because he dressed up late.
“However, my lord, the second defendant (Dasuki) who is facing a criminal charge before the Federal High Court by the State Security Services (SSS), was re-arrested after his release and has been in the custody of the State Security Services,” Mr. Jacobs said.
“And as of when they were informed again, the SSS asked for some time for the second defendant to dress up.”
He said though the witnesses in the case were in court, the matter should be adjourned to Wednesday.
Joseph Daudu, the counsel to Mr. Dasuki also agreed for an adjournment even as he asked the court to discharge the matter because he had no confidence in it.
According to him, he had no confidence in the trial because the EFCC counsel was not complying with the orders of the court.
Kayode Olatoke, who appeared for Mr. Bafarawa and his son, said he aligned himself with Mr. Daudu’s position.
Lamenting the attitude of the EFCC, Ayodele Olajide, counsel to Mr. Yuguda, expressed fears that the case could drag on for a long time unnecessarily.
He said though he was not objecting to Mr. Jacob’s request for adjournment, the court should use its discretion to give a definite time for the adjournment since the EFCC counsel could not state the time Mr. Dasuki would appear in court.
Akin Oluyimi, SAN, counsel to Mr. Bafarawa’s son said: “there is no need for us to keep deceiving ourselves”.
He asked Mr. Jacobs to serve on his team whatever paper he had served on the matter.
After listening to the counsel, the judge, Peter Affen, lamented that the SSS was holding the court to ransom even as he queried the presence of the witnesses in court when the former NSA was absent.
Mr. Affen further noted that the absence of accused persons could delay judgement on the suit.
“The law that we have given to ourselves has said that we should do this trials expeditiously,” he said.
He also said there was the possibility of cases in the court clashing with each other.
The judge advised that since the matters were related it would be safe to serve parties with various applications.
He then adjourned the suit to February 26.
Mr. Dasuki, a retired army colonel, was later brought to court at 10.22am, about one hour after the session had commenced.
He was accompanied by operatives of the SSS.