Dasuki: Appeal Court Varies Bail Condition, Faults Choice Of Civil Servants As Sureties

November 22, 2019
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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has acceded, to the request of the detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki for the variation of the terms attached to the bail earlier granted him.

In a unanimous judgment, a three-man panel of the court expunged the requirement that Dasuki produced a Level 16 civil servant, who must own a property worth N100million within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as surety.

Justice Stephen Adah, in the lead judgment, said the inclusion of civil servants as surety was an oversight on the part of the court.

He ordered that Colonel Dasuki should instead; produce two sureties, with property worth N100 million within the FCT.

Colonel Dasuki, who is currently being held in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) despite being granted bail, challenged his continued detention (since December 2015) before the Federal High Court in Abuja via a fundamental rights enforcement suit.

In a judgment on July 2, 2018, the Federal High Court granted Dasuki bail but attached conditions, which the ex-NSA found too stringent to meet.

He asked to the appeal court on that issue and sought a review of the bail conditions, a request the appellate court acceded to in its decision of June 13, 2019.

Part of the new conditions set by the Court of Appeal was that Dasuki produces a surety, who must be a Level 16 official in the Civil Service of either the Federal or state government, who must own a property worth N100m within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Dasuki found this part of the latest conditions difficult to meet and returned to the court, via an application, and prayed for a further review.

He stated, in the application that it was difficult to find a Level 16 Civil Servant who could own N100m worth of property in Abuja through his legitimate earnings.

Justice Adah, in the Appeal Court judgment, said the court’s decision to request that Dasuki produce a civil servant as surety was an oversight.

He said: “Of concern to us is that we as a court must be ready and sensitive enough not to do anything that will run against the laws of the land.

“The issue of involving civil servants or public officers in the service of the federation or the state in bail of people accused of offences has never been the practice anywhere that is civilised, and we should stop it at this level.

“It was an error that we allowed that to stay. So, it is in this respect that we will act ex debito justitiae (as a matter of right) ensuring that aspect of the condition is removed from the conditions of bail that were granted.

“It is in this respect that we grant this application, thereby inaugurating a new regime of bail. Bail is now granted to the appellant/applicant in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum.

“The sureties shall be resident within the jurisdiction of the trial court and each of which shall furnish evidence of ownership of the property in Abuja. This shall be the order of the court,” Justice Adah said.

Justices Abubakar Yahaya and Emmanuel Agim, who were also on the panel, agreed with the lead judgment.

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