A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the Federal Government to produce former National Security Adviser, NSA, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki before it on February 16.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola gave the order yesterday after lawyer to Dasuki, Joseph Daudu (SAN), decried the non-appearance of his client in court.
The judge, who noted that it was customary that a defendant in a criminal case must be present in court, adjourned to February 16 for trial.
The embattled former NSA is on trial for charges of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.
Justice Ademola said he would deliver his ruling on the prosecution’s application for witness protection before proceeding to trial on the next adjourned date.
Earlier, Daudu claimed his client was abducted by security agents six weeks ago to an unknown location, saying since he was whisked away, all efforts by his family and lawyers to have to access him had been unsuccessful.
The former NSA, who was in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC, which is prosecuting him in three separate courts on different charges bordering on corruption and abuse of office, is believed to have been transferred back to the Department of State Services, DSS, which had him in custody in the first place.
Mr. Daudu, a former national president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, noted that despite being granted bail by three high courts, Mr. Dasuki was yet to be refused or allowed to go on bail.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, therefore, prayed the court to compel the Federal Government and its agents to respect the court’s decision, having joined issues with the defendant in court.
In his response, Justice Ademola said: “I am worried that the accused is not here. I do not want to set a bad precedent. Except the court gives express order for the defendant not to be in court, he must be brought to court from wherever he is.
“The accused must be here because I am not sure if what I am doing 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 the law”.
Earlier, prosecution lawyer Dipo Okpeseyi applied for the withdrawal of an application he filed, seeking revocation of the bail granted Dasuki on November 3, last year.
The judge consequently struck out the application and adjourned to February 16.