The trial of the immediate past national security adviser (NSA), Col Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), began yesterday when he was arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a Federal High Court in Abuja on alleged criminal offence of unlawful possession of huge firearms.
Dasuki, whose prosecution on firearm offence has been a subject of speculation in the past two months, was put on trial by the federal government which alleged that the ex- NSA possessed ammunition without requisite license to do so.
He is facing a one-count criminal charge preferred against him by the director of public prosecution of the federation (DPPF), Mr Mohammed Diri, on behalf of the federal government.
Among the firearms and ammunition claimed by the federal government to have been found in the Asokoro residence of the accused in Abuja are 5 Tavor rifles, 20 magazines, 5 rifles, 5 packets of rifle with 16 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
Others are bigger magazine with 23 live round of 9mm ammunition, a bullet proof Range Rover vehicle with one magazine of 16 rounds ammunition and another Range Rover vehicle with 36 rounds of live ammunition.
Diri, who led the federal government’s legal team to prosecute the ex-NSA told Justice Ademola that the offence against Dasuki was contrary to Section 27 (1) (a) of the Firearms Act Cap F28 LFN 2004.
He told the court that the charge signed by him and dated August 21 was filed at the court in August 28.
Diri, who attached the proof of evidence, case summary, list of witnesses, list of exhibits and affidavit of competition of investigation and statements of the accused and the witnesses to the charge, also informed the court that the charge was served on Dasuki last Friday.
But when the charge was read to Dasuki, he pleaded not guilty.
Lead lawyer to Dasuki and former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Joseph Daodu (SAN), urged the court to admit his client to bail on self recognizance on the grounds that the alleged offence was bailable and the law presumes the accused innocent until contrary was proved in court.
He argued that the accused person was a responsible Nigerian who has held top level security office in the country without betrayal.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola thereafter granted Dasuki bail on self recognition. He, however, ordered Dasuki to deposit all his travelling documents with the deputy chief registrar, Litigation of the court.
The judge also ordered that the documents must be brought to the court in case they are in possession of the security operatives.