A Nigerian Court, sitting in the country’s capital Abuja on Friday ordered the prosecution to list its witnesses in in the trial of its former National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Col. Sambo Dasuki’s case.
The judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, gave the order after listening to Colonel Dasuki’s counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN).
He agreed with Daudu that all witnesses billed to testify against Dasuki must be listed in the witness list.
He ordered the prosecution to make a copy of the list available to the court and also serve the defendants.
Dasuki , a former National Security Adviser (NSA) to former President Goodluck Jonathan, was arraigned on a 19-count charge bordering on alleged diversion of N13.6 billion.
Dasuki is being tried alongside Shuaibu Salisu, a former Director of Finance, Office of the NSA, and Aminu Baba-Kusa, a former NNPC Executive Director and two others.
At the resumed hearing, Michael Adariku, an operative of the EFCC continued his testimony which he started on Jan. 25.
But Daudu, counsel to Dasuki, vehemently opposed the inclusion of the EFCC operative on the ground that he was not listed on the witnesses list as demanded by Section 397 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
He insisted that it was the requirement that all witnesses in a criminal matter must be listed and that the list of the witnesses must be served on the defendants.
Daudu submitted that the defendants were disadvantaged because they were not aware of the witness and his background upon which they could effectively cross-examine him.
He urged the court to disallow the witness from giving evidence.
Responding, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the prosecuting counsel, urged the court to discountenance the objection, adding that the said witness had started giving evidence since January.
Jacob insisted that it was too late in the day for the defendants to object or to seek disqualification of a person who had already started giving evidence simply because the name of the person did not appear in the witness list.
He said that the statements of this witness had been included since 2015 and served on the defendants without any objections.
Other lawyers in the matter aligned themselves with the position of Daudu that it was a trite law that anybody wishing to testify in a criminal matter must be listed in the witness list.
Baba-Yusuf then adjourned the matter till May 16, May 17, and May 18 for continuation of trial.
The court also fixed May 11 and May 12 for the trial of the second charges against Dasuki.(NAN)