Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki has objected to the application by the Federal Government to shield identities of witnesses in his trial.
Defence counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN) yesterday told the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss the application for witness protection, insisting that the application having been ruled upon by the court in 2016, constitutes an abuse of court process.
He said claims by the prosecution that the safety of the witnesses, who were on covert operations within and outside Nigeria, could be compromised if their identities are not protected, is “speculative” and “cheap blackmail.”
Earlier the prosecution counsel, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), asked the court to grant the shielding or masking of witnesses to protect the witnesses, who are at risk due to the position of the defendant as former ADC to Head of State, former NSA, and a crown prince of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed has fixed June 15 for ruling.
In another trial, a counsel representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday told an FCT High Court that Dasuki’s absence in court was a further ploy to delay the trial.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, EFCC’s counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe told the court that the prosecution on Wednesday received a letter from the office of Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), requesting for an adjournment on the ground that Dasuki had to appear before the Federal High Court, Abuja for another matter.
“This is unfair on the prosecution, other defence counsels and even my Lord. This is a ploy to stall this trial. This should be strongly condemned by my Lord”, Atolagbe said.
Ruling on the application for adjournment, the trial judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf said he agreed with the submission of the prosecution that the application was a ploy to delay the trial.
“By this type of conduct, the counsel to the second defendant is already tasking the patience of the court,” the judge declared, saying that he had no option than to agree to adjourn the matter due to Dasuki’s absence in court.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to June 29 & 30 for hearing.
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