The trial of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s National Security Adviser (NSA), is one of the longest – if not the longest – sensitive civil trials under the present democratic dispensation in Nigeria. By all means, it is a highly controversial trial that has attracted national and global attention.
While we prefer to spare esteemed readers the details, it is difficult to fail to mention the fact that, severally, he has been granted bails and given favourable rulings by Nigeria’s courts and the Abuja-based ECOWAS Court of Justice; however, he has been denied bail for different reasons by the authorities, particularly, Department of State Services (DSS).
Last week, the media reported that the court, for the umpteenth time, made a clear declaration that the suspect has met all bail conditions and that he should be released immediately. As at the time of going to press, we cannot confirm whether this order has been complied with by the authorities. This is where we want to draw caution.
According to reports, a Federal High Court had, on July 2, 2018, served a warrant of release of Dasuki on the Director-General of DSS, Lawal Daura, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. The warrant of release dated July 16, 2018, titled “Verification of Bail Conditions,” and signed by Mba Nkem A. Omotosho, Deputy Chief Registrar, stated in part that, “Pursuant to the judgement Order made on Monday the 2nd day of July 2018 granted by his lordship, Hon. Justice Ijeoma L. Ojukwu, directing various conditions to be fulfilled prior to the Release on Bail of the Applicant (Col. Sambo Dasuki Rtd).
“I have scrupulously verified the entire conditions of bail as ordered by his lordship and the three ambits are fulfilled. Hence, the respondents, the Director-General, State Security Services, and Attorney-General of the Federation are hereby notified as directed by his lordship for the subsequent compliance of same. Attached herewith is the enrolled Order of the Court and all the necessary bail documents for your perusal and aggrandizement”, the warrant of release stated.
We would like to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the important fact that, its image in terms of human rights and observance of the rule of law is one area its record has been so abysmally low. Indeed, the Dasuki case is one of the most referenced.
It is acknowledgeable that Dasuki case is a security case, but it is also a civil matter bordering on suspected criminal offence that is being handled by the court. For this reason, the rulings of the courts must be obeyed to the letter, unless it is being challenged in a competent court of jurisdiction or vacated.
There are a large section of the public that views this trial as a pure politics, whether there is merit in it or otherwise. The frequent denial to release him on bail has been cited as evidence to back up their argument. This is where the government should be careful. If Dasuki has met the bail conditions, he should be released as ordered by the court. Until the government respects the law of the land, it is calling for anarchy.