- Writes Ag CJN for quick intervention
Detained former National security adviser, NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) yesterday pleaded with the Supreme Court to grant him accelerated hearing in his pending two cases for bail in the criminal charges brought against him by the federal government.
Dasuki, who claimed to have been dumped in detention by the Department of the State Services, DSS, since December last year, is praying the apex court to give his two cases on bail quick determination in order to stop government from further infringing on his fundamental human rights.
In a special plea letter to the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, the former NSA claimed that his two appeal cases for bail were filed in compliance with the Supreme Court directions in August this year and had since been pending for hearing.
In the letter dated November 30, 2016, and received by the apex court on December 6, written by his lead counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), Dasuki asked the court to exercise its discretion in his favour by granting quick determination of the two appeals because of their peculiar nature.
Daudu in the letter recalled that his client was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on charges of breach of trust, criminal misappropriation and sundry offences before two high courts of the Federal Capital Territory, between September and December last year.
The counsel claimed that following a not guilty plea by his client, the two courts granted him bail and the conditions perfected by the appellant.
The letter explained that no sooner had Dasuki perfected his bail conditions than the DSS operatives swooped on him and abducted him at the Kuje prison gate, and had since kept him in detention without trial at an unknown location.
Daudu asserted that since the detention, the only reason given by government to justify the abduction, which he said was is not backed by any law, was that Dasuki is a security risk.
The letter read in part: “The same government having breached his right to fair trial by not allowing him proceed on bail to have adequate time and facilities to prepare his defense, interfered with his constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence by continuing to detain him without trial has insisted on several occasions to proceed with the charges afore described, knowing fully well that the appellant has no access to documents with which he would wish to defend himself.
“Secondly, the appellant has no access to consult freely and confidentially with learned counsel of his choice. It was in the face of these flagrant assault on the rule of law that the appellant filed an application to both courts of the FCT praying that their orders of bail having been infringed in clear disobedient circumstances the courts should exercise their disciplinary jurisdiction to shut out the state from further proceeding with the matter until it has complied with the order releasing the appellant on bail and provided a level playing field for the trial of the Applicant to proceed with his trial.
“Notwithstanding the dignity and or sanctity of the orders of the court was issue, the High Courts refused the applications.
“Being dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal Abuja vide fast track provisions in the Court of Appeal Practice Directions, which heard the appeals on the said fast track considerations and delivered judgment in less than 6 hours after hearing the appeal unanimously dismissing the Appeals.
“The Court of Appeal just as the High Court of the FCT treated the application as one that sought to hold the prosecuting agency (EFCC) contemptuously responsible for the breach of the order of bail.
“In holding that contempt proceedings and the strict observance of its rules were not complied with in this appeal and as such neither the DSS nor the EFCC could be held culpable for the tribulation occasioned by the obstruction of the enjoyment of bail of the Appellant, the court below dismissed the appeals.
“Being further dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeal Court, the appellant further exercised his rights of appeal to this Honourable Supreme Court via 7 ground notice of Appeal.
“The notices of appeal were lodged at the appropriate registries within time. The records of Appeal have been transmitted to this Honourable Court and not only have they been entered, the Appellant briefs in respect of the two appeals have been filed within time since the 5th of August, 2016 and same served on the respondents. Under the fast track Rules in the practice Direction of the Supreme Court, Appeals are ripe for hearing.
“My lord, it is extremely crucial that these appeals are heard immediately or at least expeditiously. The appellant has been kept in unlawful detention by the same government that seeks to prosecute him for the offences disclosed above, despite valid orders of court granting him bail.
“Whilst we appreciate the busy schedule of your esteemed office and indeed the Supreme Court, the circumstances described above compel the making of this application.
“It is our humble prayer that these appeals be heard immediately after the Christmas vacation so that all the false hue and cry by government that the cases are being delayed by counsel or the client himself will be put to rest once and for all,” the letter pleaded.