Justice Adeniyi Ademola, a Federal High Court Judge, Abuja, has decided to stand down in the trial of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), who has been standing trial before him over allegations of sharing money meant for arms purchase to fight insurgency in the North East zone of the country, to politicians.
Ademola announced his decision to withdraw from the trial before the court on Tuesday, saying his action is based on the allegations of corruption leveled against him by the Department of State Security (DSS), that is prosecuting the accused in the case.
Recall, Ademola was among High Court Justices arrested last week by the DSS, over an alleged corruption.
The DSS had on October 7 raided residences of seven Judges including that of Ademola, in the middle of the night and arrested them.
They were subsequently detained for two days before they were released.
The DSS had claimed that huge sums of money both foreign and local currencies were found in Ademola’s possession.
In debunking the allegations, the Judge wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, claiming that he was being harassed and intimidated by the DSS for granting bail to Dasuki and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu
At the resumed hearing of Dasuki’s case, Tuesday, Justice Ademola engaged the defendant in a question and answer session.
When Dasuki’s case was mentioned and the accused brought into the witness box, Ademola engaged him in a dialogue.
Before then Ademola addressed the prosecuting counsel, Dapo Okpeseyi and counsel to Dasuki, Adedayo Adedeji.
He said: “I am sure you are conversant with what is going on the last seven days. One of the allegations being made against me is that I received some money from Sambo Dasuki. This is the allegation of the SSS.
“I thought I should tell the counsel what is being said.
“Before I announce my decision, let me ask the defendant (Dasuki) some questions,” Ademola said.
Ademola: Do you know me at all?
Dasuki: Before I came to this court, not at all.
Ademola: Did you at any time give me money?
Dasuki: Not that I am aware of.
Ademola: Did you send your lawyers to give me money?
Dasuki: Not at all.
As the question and answer continued, there were muted talk from all corners of the court
At the end, Justice Ademola said he would stand down from the case considering the enormity of the allegations against him.
Counsels for the two parties agreed with the decision of Justice Ademola for fairness and justice in view of the circumstances.
Justice Ademola has had running battle with the DSS over disobedience to court orders by the operatives on several occasions.
For instance on September 1, 2015, Justice Ademola granted bail to Dasuki on self-recognition after following the no-objection by the lead prosecutor, Mohammed Diri who was the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF).
On November 13, 2015, Justice Ademola lambasted the DSS over their disobedient or court order over the bail granted to Dasuki.
He had said: “I stand by my order, nobody is saying that the man should not be investigated, but the order must be obeyed and I am not ready to bend on the order”
Similarly, on April 19, 2016, Justice Ademola refused to grant request by DSS to conduct a secret trial on Dasuki case.
Dasuki had insisted that he wanted his trial in the court to be open and public for the benefit of audience as he had nothing to hide.
Justice Ademola said that there was no point for the witnesses billed to be called to testify in the matter to wear masks and bear pseudo names and addresses so as to facilitate their protection.
Justice Ademola held that the federal government had in its charges listed the names and addresses of 11 witnesses to be called to testify against Dasuki and made same available to the general public and as such there was no basis for any hide and seek game in the trial.