By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, has written to the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, stating that he would no longer appear in court for his trial.
The federal government is prosecuting Dasuki on charges of illegal possession of firearms and money laundering while in office.
The former NSA boss’ request is following the federal government’s continued refusal to comply to courts orders granting him bail.
Dashiki, who has been detained by the Department of State Service since December 29, 2105, cited five court orders, including one by the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, that have ordered his release but continued to be violated by the Federal Government.
The former Army Chief is presently being prosecuted on three sets of charges with two of the sets relating to his alleged diversion of funds meant for purchase of arms, which is pending before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja, and the other set bordering on illegal possession of firearms and money laundering pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
His letter dated November 12, 2018 was addressed to the Registrar of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The letter personally signed by Dasuki, was titled, ‘Unabated persecution of Col. Mohammed Sambo (rtd) by the Federal Government of Nigeria’.
In the letter, Dasuki narrated how he had at different times been granted bail by the courts in respect of the three sets of charges but the Federal Government refused to comply with the orders.
The letter dated November 12, 2018, and addressed to far Registrar of the Federal high court, Abuja, narrated how he was re-arrested at Kuje Prison in Abuja on December 29, 2015 shortly after he was released on meeting the terms and conditions of the bail granted him in respect of the three sets of charges instituted against him before different judges.
Also, he informed that part of the efforts to regain his freedom, he filed applications in three different courts complaining of the disobedience of court orders by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the State Security Service.
The letter reads, “At this point, I strongly believe that there must be an end to this hypocrisy and lopsided/partisan rule of law.
“Since the Federal Government has resolved not to comply with judicial orders, directing my release, it is better for the court to also absolve me of the need to submit myself further prosecution.
“Justice should be evenly dispensed, as opposed to same, being in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“These courts were however of the view that I should apply for the enforcement of my fundamental human rights, given the peculiar circumstances of the case,” Dasuki said.
He said his family was skeptical about filing such fundamental rights enforcement suit “given the high-handedness of the government and its resolve not to comply with any kind of order which admitted me to bail”.
At the resumption of hearing yesterday, Dasuki was absent in court.
His counsel, Mr. Victor Okwudiri, bringing Dasuki’s letter to the attention of the presiding judge, said that the team got to know about the letter as they got to court on Tuesday.
“We were not aware of the letter until this morning when we got to court. But from what got from the letter when I rushed through it this morning is that he is complaining about his plight in the custody of DSS,” Okwudiri said.
Responding, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), told the judge that Dasuki had informed operatives that he would not come to court since he had sent a letter to the court.
He said DSS operatives, although, could force him to court, chose not to take such action, to accord the defendant some respect due to him as a former NSA.
Okpeseyi predicated his prayers on the grounds that the cases for which the former NSA has been denied bail are independent of the instant case.
He said the action of the defendant to write a letter instead of appearing in court in person is an affront to the court.
The prosecution, therefore, urged the court to proceed with trial by asking the prosecution to call its witness to testify in the absence of the trial.
He premised his application on section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Responding, the defence counsel Okwudiri, opposed the prosecution, insisting that the provisions of section 252(4) was not applicable since his client had not been allowed to enjoy the bail granted him by the court.
In his ruling, Justice Mohammed reminded the prosecution of his ruling on April 10, 2018.
In his ruling, the judge directed the prosecution to file an affidavit stating the facts whenever the defendant, on his own decided not to appear in court.
He said the affidavit must be filed for him to be convinced that the defendant willfully stayed away from court.
The judge maintained that until the prosecution holds an affidavit in respect of similar occurrence yesterday, he would adjourn the matter to enable them to comply.
However, he ordered the defence to properly communicate the court, for the letter to be included in its record, adding that the court is a court of record which does not accept direct communication from parties.