Siege To Dasuki’s Home An Act Of Lawlessness – Court | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Siege To Dasuki’s Home An Act Of Lawlessness – Court

Posted: Nov 14, 2015 at 11:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

* Insists he is free to travel abroad for medical attention

*Summons AGF

*Dasuki suffering cancer, says his life is under threat

*DSS still at Dasuki residence as at 8pm yesterday

JUSTICE Ademola Adeniyi of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, berated the Federal Government for disobeying his order to allow former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, to travel abroad for medication.

Consequently, he summoned the new Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to appear before him on Monday, to explain why Dasuki has remained under house arrest for the past nine days.

Justice Adeniyi maintained that the AGF should be ready to explain why an order the court made on November 3, permitting Dasuki to travel abroad for medical attention was violated.

The summon on the AGF was sequel to complaint by Dasuki’s lawyers, led by Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, that armed operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, barred their client from stepping out of his house.

Daudu told the court that the operatives have continued to lay siege to Dasuki’s residence at No 13 John Kadiya Street, Asokoro District, Abuja , with a view to preventing him from travelling abroad for medical treatment.

Operatives of the Directorate of State Security were still at the house of former National Security Adviser as at 8 pm last night, many hours after Justice Adeniyi described their action as lawlessness.

A statement on the imbroglio yesterday night said, “In response to media enquiry after the court judgement, the armed operatives of DSS are still by the Residence of Ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki at No 13 John Kadiya Street Asokoro as at 8pm today”.

Meanwhile, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, who declined to confirm or deny the presence of security operatives at Dasuki’s house in breach of the court order, yesterday, insisted that the ex-NSA was being investigated over his alleged complicity in a fresh money laundering case.

His response drew the irk of Justice Adeniyi, who lambasted the DSS for not respecting a valid court order. “I have made an order which has to be obeyed and the order is to the effect that the accused be allowed to go abroad as from November 4 to treat his ailment within three weeks and return to the court on November 26 for his trial in the charges brought against him. I stand by my order, nobody is saying that the man should not be investigated but the order must be obeyed and I am not ready to bend on the order.

“I even varied the bail conditions to accommodate a surety to ensure that the accused comes back to answer the charges against him. No big deal in any new investigation, it is even a small matter to the earlier charge. I do not want this issue to escalate because it is attracting global attention and I know what that means, so my order must not be flouted.

“If you have any further issue with him, let him go for his medical check-up and come back. It is the duty of all Nigerians to ensure that court orders are obeyed. I am not too happy with what is happening. It is an act of lawlessness and I believe it is not too early for the AGF to look into this mess.

“The AGF has to come to my court immediately. It is in the best interest of the nation, so that the scenario will not continue. It is important that the AGF, being the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, be present in this court on Monday,” the Judge said.

Justice Adeniyi had in a ruling on November 3, okayed Dasuki to travel to the United Kingdom over his “deteriorating health condition.”

The former NSA who is being prosecuted on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering and alleged possession of illegal firearms, told the court that he was suffering from cancer.

Meanwhile, in a fundamental right enforcement application he filed pursuant to section 36(5) 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution, as well as, sections 1(1) and (2) and 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, Dasuki alleged that his life is currently under threat.

He is praying the court to uphold his rights to dignity and security of life.

He is also seeking a mandatory order compelling the Federal Government and its agents, especially operatives of the DSS, to vacate his house.

Though Dasuki was not in court when his application was heard yesterday, among his well wishers who attended the proceedings included the former Minister of Aviation and Director Media and Publicity of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organization during the 2015 general elections, Mr. Femi Fani Kayode.

Fani-Kayode said he was in court to show solidarity to Dasuki, even as he berated the DSS for not respecting a valid order of the court.

He said: “I have come here to express solidarity with the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, and I am outraged about the way in which he has been treated. All of us worked together particularly during the presidential campaign even though we lost the election.

“It is most important that we stand by our own. I think that it is a little bit disconcerting when security agents camp at somebody’s gate and court orders are breached.

“I am happy that in this country, we have the rule of law and people can come to court when their rights are being violated. I am here to stand in complete solidarity with him.

“It is very important for him and all these people who are being marginalised, criminalised or intimidated in this country today to know that they are not alone.

“Some of us have been through this over a period of time. We have been through persecutions in this country. It is at a time like this that you know who your real friends are. Dasuki is a good man, he is a man we have absolute faith in. He is a man of the future and we stand strong with him. That is why I am here today,” he said.

Former governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Boni Haruna, who stood surety for Dasuki, was invited for questioning by the DSS immediately he left the court on November 3.

The Federal Government had insisted that the National Hospital in Abuja is well equipped to handle whatever ailment from which Dasuki is suffering.

Nevertheless, in dismissing Federal Government’s objections against Dasuki, Justice Adeniyi held that, “every citizen has a right to choose the medical facility in which he wants to be treated, in Nigeria or abroad.”

Placing reliance on decided case in Abacha vs State, 2002, 5-NWLR, the court further held that ill-health constituted a special circumstance that a court should take notice of to exercise its discretion in favour of an accused person.

Justice Adeniyi said that the Federal Government failed to persuade it with the argument that Dasuki is currently a subject of a fresh criminal investigation.

On Dasuki’s application for the release of his international passport and Federal Government’s opposition on the ground that it was the only document he surrendered to secure bail on self recognition, the court dismissed the argument as “misconceived and not tenable in law.”

The court stressed that the fact that the accused was on September 1, granted bail on self recognition, meant that there was no condition attached to his release.

Maintaining that every accused person, in line with section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, ought to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, the trial judge said his decision to grant Dasuki’s request was also fortified by a decided case law in Ibori vs FRN which he said was on all fours with the instant case before him.

“Accordingly, the application of the defendant succeeds and I hereby make the following orders;

“An order is hereby made by this court releasing the applicant’s international passport to enable him to travel abroad for three weeks for medical treatment owing to his deteriorating health condition.

“The Deputy Registrar of the Federal High Court is hereby directed to release the international passport to the defendant.

“It is also ordered that the defendant, upon his return to the country, should surrender his international passport to the Deputy Chief Registrar Litigation, within 72 hours upon his return,” the court ruled.

Justice Adeniyi relied on section 1 75 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, and varied the bail it earlier granted the former NSA to include that he should provide a surety.

The court directed that the surety must sign a written undertaking to guarantee that the accused person will return to Nigeria after his medical treatment, to face his trial, “failing which the surety will take the place of the defendant pending when he makes himself available for trial.”

“Alternatively, any of the lawyers to the defendant can enter an undertaking to produce him on the trial date”, Justice Adeniyi added.

Dasuki was in the substantive charge before the court, alleged to have kept in his possession, funds that were proceeds of an unlawful act, an offence the Federal Government said was contrary to section 15 (2)(d) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.

The Federal Government alleged that he was on July 17, 2015, at his house situated at No. 13, John Khadiya Street, Asokoro, Abuja, found to be in possession of various range of firearms without requisite license, an offence punishable under section 27 (1)(a) of the Firearms Act Cap F28 LFN 2004.

He was further accused of retaining the sums of $40,000, N5millon and another $20,000 in the same house and same date, contrary to section 15 (2)(d) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011. FG told the trial court that the ex-NSA had on July 16, 2015, at his residence at Sultan Abubakar Road and Sabon Birni Road, Sokoto State, retained another $150,000 and N37.6m being part of proceedings of unlawful act, contrary to Section 15 (3) of the Money Laundering Act 2011. It listed the alleged illegal arms it found at Dasuki’s residence in Abuja as five Tavor Assault Rifles, 1 Macro Uzi with serial No 60244(Rifle), 20 magazines (Ammunition), 1 packet of MOD (Ministry of Defence) APG calibre gun, Luger No 033375 ( gun), small magazine containing 16 rounds of ammunition, and bigger magazine containing live rounds of ammunition.

The former NSA had since pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.