Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Dasuki has asked a Federal High Court to stop his prosecution on the grounds that the Federal Government has allegedly failed to obey orders made for his release on bail.
Dasuki’s request is contained in his personal letter, dated November 12, 2018 which he addressed to the Registrar of Court 5.
He is standing trial before the court on charges of money laundering and illegal arms possession. The charges were brought against him by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
The letter, titled: “Re: Unabated persecution of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” was signed by the ex-NSA.
Dasuki, in the letter gave a brief profile of himself and detailed what he described as constituting his persecution by the Federal Government and its agency, the Department of State Services (DSS).
He referred to five different orders for his release made, both by Nigerian courts and the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which he said the Nigerian government has failed to obey.
Dasuki said: “The restive to continue detaining me, against the several orders of court and in brazen violation of the Constitution, is wrongful and arbitrary. It has inflicted physical, emotional and psychological torture on my family and me.
“The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria is not only high-handed, it is also arbitrary and in violation of both domestic and international laws on human rights.
“At this juncture, it will seem that the Nigerian Government is not inclined to yield or obey the orders of any court of law, whether domestic or international.
“Ironically, the Federal Government still wants to ride on judicial wings to prosecute me. when it does not comply with the orders that proceed from the court, especially in relations to me.
“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 for further prosecution.
“Justice should be evenly dispensed, as opposed to same, being, in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
When the case came up on Tuesday before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, Dasuki was absent in court.
His lawyer, Victor Okwudiri drew the court’s attention to the letter by his client.
Okwudiri said: “We were not aware of the letter until this morning when we got to court.
“But what I could get from the letter when I rushed through it this morning, is that he is complaining about his plight in the custody of the DSS,” Okwudiri said.
Responding, prosecuting lawyer, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN) said Dasuki informed DSS operatives, who are keeping him that he would not come to court since he had sent a letter to the court.
Okpeseyi added that although Dasuki could be compelled to attend court, the DSS operatives chose not to take such action to accord him some respect due to his status as a former NSA.
The prosecuting lawyer argued that Dasuki’s decision not to attend court, but instead, chose to send a letter to the court, amounted to an affront to the court.
He noted that Dasuki also failed to attend court on January 17 and April 10 this year.
Relying on the provision of Section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, Okpeseyi urged the court to proceed with trial in Dasuki’s absence by directing the prosecution to call its witness, an application, Okwudiri objected to.
Ruling, Justice Mohammed noted that he had, in a ruling on April 10 this year, directed the prosecution to file an affidavit stating the facts whenever the defendant, on his own decided not to appear in court.
The judge said the affidavit must be filed convince him that the defendant willfully stayed away from court.
Justice Mohammed noted that since the prosecution has failed to file an affidavit to also reflect the defendant’s absence on Tuesday, he would adjourn to a later date for the prosecution to comply.
He adjourned to November 19.