A former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has asked an Abuja division of the Federal High Court to invite some senior Nigerian lawyers as “friends of the court” for his trial.
Mr Dasuki made the request through his lawyer on Wednesday when his trial was scheduled to resume.
But the court had to adjourn the matter to January 29 following the continued absence of Mr Dasuki in court.
The presiding judge, Ahmed Muhammed, made the adjournment after the defence counsel filed an application to invite the senior lawyers to contribute to the trial of Mr Dasuki.
An amicus curiae or “friend of the court” (plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case; and is typically presented in the form of a brief.
The court has the discretion on whether or not to involve an amicus curiae in a trial.
In the opening of session on Wednesday, the defence counsel, Adeola Adedipe, said that he had filed an application before the court.
“In the process of time, something happened and we had to file another application, dated and filed January 8.”
According to Mr Adedipe, the motion seeks to ask the court to invite some “amici curiae.”
Those Mr Dasuki is inviting to the court to participate/contribute to his trial include the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, two former presidents of the association, Oluwole Olanipekun and Olisa Agbakoba; a teacher of law, Koyinsola Ajayi; human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana; and Oyechi Ikpeazu.
Mr Adedipe wants the court to step down the hearing of an application of December 11 for that of January 8 in which Mr Dasuki applied for the participation of friends of the court.
Responding, the prosecution counsel, Oladipupo Opeseyi, said they had been served the application by the Mr Adedipe.
“We have just been served the further affidavit, although, the application for December 11 is liberal for hearing and we are ready to go on.
“But we would request a few days to enable us react to the new application served on us.”
Prior to this, the judge, Mr Muhammed adjourned the matter to January 29 to hearing of the application dated January 8.
Before now, Mr Dasuki’s lawyers said they want the matter adjourned indefinitely until the Nigerian government complies with a court judgment of July 2, which directed that Mr Dasuki be released immediately.
Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, had said the federal government cannot release Mr Dasuki.
Mr Dasuki was arrested in December 2015 and has remained in detention since then despite several court orders for his release.