new dimension crept into the controversial arrest and detention of seven judges last week, as Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday withdrew from charges of unlawful possession of fire arms, money laundering and breach of public trust brought against the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, by the Department of the State Services, DSS.
The withdrawal of the judge was a fall-out of the bickering and crisis of confidence between the DSS and the jJudge who was last week arrested and detained for 48 hours by the operatives of the DSS on an allegation that he was involved in a bribery issue.
Justice Ademola, who was to give a ruling in an application by the DSS seeking that its witnesses in the trial of the former NSA be permitted to wear mask in court for protection, shocked the lawyers when he announced to them that he might not be able to continue with the trial for the reasons that were well known to the general public.
Immediately the case was called and the defendant entered the dock for the trial to commence, the judge said: “I’m sure you are all conversant with what is going on in the last seven days,” Ademola said in his opening statement at the resumed court sitting.
“One of the allegations being made against me is that I received some money from Sambo Dasuki; that is the allegation of the DSS.‎ I thought I should tell the counsel what is being said,”‎ the judge further said.
“One of the allegations being made against me by the Department of State Services is that I received certain sums of unspecified money from the defendant.
“Of course, I have responded to that allegation of receiving an unspecified sum of money from the defendant but it will be wise for him to answer some questions.
“Before I announce my decision, let me ask the defendant, Dasuki, some questions.
The judge resumed: “Do you know me at all?” A question to which Dasuki responded: “Before I came to this court, not at all.”
“Did you at any time give me money?” Ademola further asked, as the former NSA responded: “Not that I am aware of.”
“Did you give money to any of my relatives‎?” as Dasuki responded in the negative, saying “not at all, maybe the DSS alleging that did.”
Finally, Justice Ademola stated: “I am happy that you have answered these questions. In the interest of fair hearing, I am minded to return the case file to the chief judge of the Federal High Court for further action.”
The judge thereafter announced that he was transferring the file back to the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, “for a reassignment to another judge having regards to the allegations against this court by the complainant (DSS)‎.”
The judge said his decision to return the file to the chief judge for “further directive” was in line with the principles of fair hearing to parties before the court.
Dasuki was arraigned on September 1, 2015, over charges that bordered on unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.
However, due to intermittent interlocutory applications from both the prosecution and defence counsel, commencement of full blown trial of the former NSA has been delayed.
Reacting to the decision of the judge, counsel to the DSS, Chief Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN) said, “We are guided by your Lordship’s decision even though we had come for a ruling and continuation of trial.”
Also, counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Adeyeye Adedeji acknowledged the recent happenings and said the judge was right to take that step.
Consequently, Okpeseyi requested for an adjournment so that the counsel and the chief judge would ruminate over the issue and take the next step rather than boxing the court into a tight corner.

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