Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former National Security Adviser, has filed an application seeking court order to have senior lawyers like Femi Falana, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, to speak on his continuous detention despite multiple bail orders.
In the application moved by counsel to the defendant, Adeola Adedipe, on Wednesday, Dasuki asked Justice Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge to call for the intervention of notable ‘Amici Curiae’ to dissect the implication of holding him in detention in disregard of the Constitution.
Amici Curiae is a Latin phrase that means ‘friends of the court’. These are respectable members of the legal profession who can give informed suggestions to the court in a matter, provided they are not a part of the matter and have no vested interest.
Dasuki is standing trial for alleged illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
In 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Dasuki on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering, fraud and breach of public trust.
He was accused of siphoning N32billion from accounts the office of the NSA operated with both the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions.
The court, however, granted him bail but he has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since 2015, despite court orders for his release.
On July 2, 2018, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted him bail and declared his continued detention by the DSS as illegal.
Having failed to secure his release, his counsel, at the resumption of hearing on the matter, asked the court to step down hearing until the intervention of the ‘friends of the court’.
Those listed as Amici Curiae are all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). They include two former Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba; human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana; Professor Koyinsola Ajayi; Mr. Onyeachi Ikpeazu and the incumbent NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro.
In addition, the counsel said issues submitted for consideration in Dasuki’s motion on notice of December 11, 2018, raised very serious and unusual situations. According to him, the issues raised have far-reaching legal implications on the viability of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Nigerian criminal jurisprudence, rule of law, and sanctity/authority of the bench and the practice of law.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Dolapo Kehinde, the deponent submitted that the court had inherent powers to invite or request contributions from the enumerated Amicus Curiae
He said this would enable them give their views with respect to the issues raised for consideration in the said application.
According to Kehinde, it is in the overall interest of justice, sanctity of the bench, preservation of the Constitution and sustenance of the rule of law, for the court to grant the application.
He said the motion on notice touched on very sensitive constitutional issues on usual circumstances which would impact on both the authority of the bench and law practice in Nigeria.
The deponent averred that the continued detention of the applicant was indicative of the fact that the complainant had no regards for the rule of law, hence the need for the intervention of eminent lawyers in the matter.
The trial judge adjourned the matter till January 29.