The trial of a former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki and four others was stalled on Tuesday due to the inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce him in court once again.
On resumption of the case, at 9 am, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs told the court that all the accused persons had been released having perfected their bail conditions. However, he made an excuse for the second defendant (Dasuki) who he said could not come out immediately because the State Security Services (SSS) got a reminder for Dasuki’s appearance in court late.
Jacobs said Dasuki has been in the custody of the State Security Services which re-arrested him and is prosecuting him over another matter. “And as of when they were informed again, the SSS asked for some time for the second defendant to dress up,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs asked the court to adjourn the matter to Wednesday, February 3 for commencement of trial. But Justice Peter Affen was not having that: ”So what you are saying is that the SSS is holding the court,” he said.
In response to Jacob’s claim that prosecution witnesses were already in court ready to testify against Dasuki and other suspects, Justice Affen said, “How can you have witnesses if the accused persons are not here?” The judge said these kinds of issues compromise the expeditious trial of the matter. “The law that we have given to ourselves has said that we should do this trials expeditiously,” Affen said.
Ayodele Olajide, a counsel who represents the former minister of state finance, Bashiru Yuguda said he sees this case going through a long torturous journey with the attitude of the prosecution. Olajide however said he is not objecting to the prayer of the prosecution. He also urged the court to use its discretion to give an adjournment for tomorrow as his colleague, Jacobs has not given a definite time for the appearance of the defendant.
Dasuki is standing trial alongside former minister of state for finance, Bashiru Yuguda, a former governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa and his son, Sagir for criminal abuse of public trust and misappropriation of funds.
Joseph Daudu representing Dasuki also agreed with the call for an adjournment but added that he wanted a discharge of the matter by the court as he lacks confidence in the trial due to the fact that the prosecution is not complying with court orders.
After hearing response from all the counsels, Justice Affen conceded the adjournment. He also said he will listen to the application for a discharge of the suit on Friday, February 26.
Finally, Dasuki was brought to court by DSS officials at about 10.22 am, more than an hour after hearing commenced.