The Appeal Court has fixed November 13 to entertain a motion filed by former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, against his subpoena for appearance as a defence witness in the trial of former Peoples Democratic Party spokesperson, Olisah Metuh.
Mr. Dasuki’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji, informed the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court about the appeal on October 30 and asked the court to suspend its order regarding the subpoena pending the determination of the appeal.
Mr. Raji approached the higher court after the Federal High Court refused his application to suspend the subpoena.
The court had issued the subpoena following an order of the Appeal Court.
Mr. Raji received the formal information about the date set by the Appeal Court during Wednesday’s proceedings at the lower court.
His decision to inform the court in session about the date was objected by the presiding judge, Okon Abang, but the lawyer later pronounced the date as November 13.
Earlier, Mr. Raji informed the court that his client had a right to oppose the order for a subpoena to be served on him.
“Implicit in this finding is that Colonel Dasuki reserves a right to oppose the subpoena. A witness has a right to oppose and bring an application to challenge the subpoena,” Mr. Raji said.
Mr. Raji added that since his client had already requested for suspension of the subpoena at a higher court, continuing with it at the lower court would amount to “preempting the decision of the Appeal Court.”
He said that Mr. Dasuki was asking for two issues to be determined at the Appeal Court: “Can an accomplice be a compellable witness and is it right for somebody who has been held in custody for such a long time be allowed to testify on a minute aspect of a bulk of allegation against him?”
Although the application for the suspension of the subpoena was not countered by the defence counsel, the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, asked the court to disregard it.
“The applicant is saying that they have filed a reference at the Court of Appeal. Our contention is that there is no reference as envisaged under section 305 to warrant an adjournment in the matter.
“An adjournment must be on the basis that there has been a reference made by a party to the Court of Appeal.
“This is not just a case of application simplicita; they brought it pursuant to section 305 (1).
We are saying that there is no pending reference before the Court of Appeal by the applicant to warrant the invocation of section 305. Rather, as shown in exhibit D, the applicant has merely exercised a right of appeal by filing a notice of appeal,” he submitted.
Responding, however, Mr. Raji said the submission of Mr. Tahir that a reference ought to have been brought from the Court of Appeal was inappropriate because the ‘controversial’ subpoena is not a product of the Court of Appeal.
“The order at the Court of Appeal was predicated on proceedings before this court.
“The Court of Appeal did not issue the subpoena. The court of Appeal directed this court to issue the subpoena,” Mr. Raji said.
Mr. Dasuki appeared for the first time on Wednesday in Mr. Metuh’s trial.
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