A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, ordered the Federal Government to produce former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (reted), in court on February 16 to answer criminal charges filed against him.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who gave the order, said it was mandatory for a defendant in a criminal matter to be physically present in court at every stage of the prosecution except where the presence of the accused is excused by court for reasons.
The judge was provoked by the failure of the Federal Government to bring Dasuki to court on Wednesday for his trial.
Dasuki’s counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), had earlier complained that his client was abducted by security agents of the Federal Government six weeks ago to an unknown destination.
Daudu informed Justice Ademola that since Dasuki was whisked away, all efforts by Dasuki’s family members and his lawyers to have access to him had proved abortive.
He also recalled that in three different high courts where Dasuki was arraigned by the Federal Government, he (Dasuki) was admitted to bail by the three courts and the counsel regretted that up till date, the government and its agents refused to allow Dasuki go on bail.
He urged the judge to compel the Federal Government and its agents to respect the court’s decision.
The trial judge said: “I am worried that the accused is not here. I do not want to set a bad precedence. Except the court gives express order for the defendant not to be in court, the accused must be brought to court from wherever he is.
“The accused must be here because I am not sure if what I am doing is right now, in the absence of the accused, is not an illegality.
“Government and whoever is concerned must endeavour to do the necessary thing. The accused, having been formally charged in court, must be produced in court for trial on the appointed days in compliance with provisions of the law,” the judge added.
Earlier, counsel to Federal Government, Dikpo Okpeseyi (SAN), had applied for withdrawal of an application earlier filed by government seeking revocation of the bail granted Dasuki on November 3.
The judge consequently struck out the application and announced that ruling would be delivered on February 16 in a pending application by the Federal Government seeking secret trial of the former NSA.