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Court grants Bafarawa permission to go for Lesser Hajj, orders FG to allow Dasuki access to lawyers

By News Express on 25/05/2016

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An Abuja High Court today granted one-month permission to former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who is standing trial along with detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), to go to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Hajj.

Justice Peter Affen granted the permission following a motion to that effect by Bafarawa’s lawyer, Prince Latif Fagbemi, SAN, and which was not opposed by the protection counsel.

The judge ordered the travel document be released to Bafarawa by the Registrar of the court while the applicant was granted permission to perform the Lesser Hajj otherwise known as Umra between June 5 and July 5 this year.

The court also ordered the Federal Government to allow Dasuki to have unhindered access to his lawyers for consultation and briefing in order to allow him prepared adequately for his trial. The court ordered that Dasuki must be released to his team of lawyers for eight working days to take briefing from him and prepare for the trial in the criminal charges filed against him by the Federal Government.

Justice Affen, who issued the order, directed that the operatives of the Department State Security Service (DSS) who have been detaining the ex-NSA since December last year after being granted bail by three courts, must bring him to his lawyers within the premises of the FCT judiciary headquarters.

It would be recalled that similar orders had been made by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High as well as Justice Baba Yusuf of an Abuja High Court for the same purposes due to complaints of denial of access to lawyers by Dasuki even after all of them had granted bails.

The security agents are by the fresh order to make Dasuki available to his legal team being led by Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, as from June 13, to June 22, 2016.

The briefing which must be confidential will hold in the appointed days between 9am to 4pm every day, the court said.

Ruling in an application by Dasuki, in which he complained that he has been denied access to his lawyers in spite of the charges filed against him, Justice Affen said that it is in the interest of justice that the defendant must be allowed to have access to the lawyers of his choice as required by law and in the interest of fair trial.

The judge noted with joy that the lawyers in the matter consented that the ex-NSA deserved to be made available to his legal team for the purpose of making adequate preparation for his defence in the criminal matter.

The Federal Government’s counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacob, SAN, had vehemently objected to the request of Dasuki for access to his lawyers.

The counsel claimed that there was no evidence before the court that Dasuki’s lawyers made any attempt to visit the headquarters of the DSS to take briefing from their clients, adding that the request was a ploy to delay the trial. Jacobs prayed the court not to indulge the defendant in the request as doing so would further delay the trial.

However, Justice Affen disagreed with him, insisting that it is in the interest of fair trial that an accused person must be allowed unfettered access to the legal practitioners of his choice in other to prepare his defence.

The judge said that in the instance case, the defendant who is being detained by the DSS on behalf of the Federal Government had made it clear that he was being denied access to his already chosen legal practitioners. He asked the prosecution to, in the interest of justice, comply with the new order on accessibility to the counsel by Dasuki.

Justice Affen then adjourned the matter till July 14 and 15, 2016 for definite trial at the instance of counsel in the matter, adding that he would not take any excuse from any of the parties in the matter.

•Photo shows ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa.

Source News Express

Posted 25/05/2016 7:05:15 PM

 

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