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    Monday, 23 May 2016

    Court overrules Nigerian govt on lawyer’s access to Dasuki

    An Abuja High Court has overruled the Federal Government in its decision to confine the detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to the premises of the State Security Service to access and brief his lawyer in the ongoing trial of criminal charges on corruption brought against him.
    Mr. Dasuki, who was granted bails by three different high courts, met the bail conditions but was re-arrested by the SSS since December last year and yet to be released.
    The court ordered that the ex-NSA must be allowed to access and brief his lawyers at a neutral place instead of the premises of the SSS headquarters in Abuja so as to enable him prepare adequately for his defence in the trial.
    Justice Husain Baba Yusuf, who issued the order in Abuja on Monday directed that henceforth the detained ex-NSA should be allowed by the SSS to access his lawyers within the premises of the Federal Capital Territory Judiciary Headquarters in Maitama Abuja between Monday to Friday this week.
    The pronouncement of Justice Baba Yusuf followed a complaint by Mr. Dasuki’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, that the legal team for Mr. Dasuki had not been allowed to have direct access to him in spite of a court order made on April 6.
    At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to the Federal Government, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the Judge that the case was slated for commencement of trial and that he was fully ready with his witnesses.
    However, Mr. Adedipe rose and informed the court that he was not ready for any trial because the ruling of April 6, which ordered the SSS to allow them access their client for briefing so as to prepare his defence had not been complied with by the security agency.
    The counsel claimed that following the April 6 ruling, a letter by Mr. Dasuki’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu, dated April 13 was despatched to the SSS requesting permission to access Mr. Dasuki outside the SSS office as contained in the ruling of the court.
    To their surprise, Mr. Adedipe informed Justice Baba Yusuf that the prosecution counsel, Mr Jabobs replied on April 18 to the effect that the access to Mr. Dasuki can only be granted at a convenient room and unhindered in a special room at the SSS headquarters.
    The counsel insisted that because of the confidentiality required in such a briefing between a client and his lawyer, the SSS letter could not be acted upon, hence the defence was not ready for trial until it has been afforded opportunity to access Mr. Dasuki on a neutral ground for proper briefing.
    The same position was canvased by Akin Olujimi, SAN, Solomon Umoh, SAN and Abioldun Layonu, SAN who are counsel to other defendants in the trial and claimed that in order not to put a question mark on the trial, Mr. Dasuki must be allowed access to his lawyers in a neutral place in the interest of fair trial.
    Justice Baba Yusuf, who had earlier indicated that he was not going to grant any further adjournment however saw reason with the defence and adjourned the case till June 6 for the SSS to comply with his April 6 ruling.
    The Judge ordered that as from Monday (today) till Friday, Mr. Dasuki must be brought by the SSS operatives to the premises of the Abuja High Court as a neutral ground where Mr. Dasuki should be allowed unhindered access to his lawyers to enable him prepare adequate defence in the criminal charges against him.
    Justice Baba Yusuf asked Mr. Jacobs to prevail on his client to always obey orders of the court in order not to impede the criminal trials pending in the court of laws.

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