By Kunle Olasanmi and Andrew Essien, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has given the court bailiff a five-day ultimatum to serve former President Goodluck Jonathan the court summon to appear before him as a witness in the trial of a former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh.
The court headed by Justice Okon Abang also ordered the prosecution counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, to persuade his client to explore administrative means of ensuring that the Department of State Service (DSS) produce former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), in court on the next adjourned date.
It was gathered yesterday that Jonathan was yet to be served with the subpoena by the court bailiff.
Justice Abang said the court might not be able to make any progress in the case without the two summoned witnesses appearing before it.
The judge also noted that Jonathan should not be blamed for failure to appear before the court because he has not been served with the court subpoena.
The judge noted that the singular attempt by the court bailiff to serve Jonathan personally with the witness summon at his home in Abuja was not sufficient.
Consequently, he directed the bailiff to take further steps to ensure personal service on Jonathan within five days from yesterday.
The judge further ruled that if after five days the bailiff is unable to serve Jonathan personally, Metuh, who applied for the subpoena, should make effort to serve the ex-president through substituted means.
Justice Abang said, “The bailiff is hereby given five days from today to serve the former president, after which the law will take its course. If it is impossible, the use of substituted means is allowed.
“For that, the bailiff is not an agent of the first defendant. If the bailiff is unable to serve the former president, the first defendant should make the application for the bailiff. The bailiff cannot apply to court because he is not a party.
“As regards the absence of Dasuki, this will be addressed administratively. There is no reason for the absence of Dasuki in court. The learned counsel for government must convince its client to produce Dasuki in court, failure of which it will be difficult for the matter to continue”.
Also yesterday, the court struck out an application by Sambo Dasuki seeking an order setting aside the subpoena directing him to appear in court to testify on behalf of Metuh.
In his ruling, the judge ruled that having been ordered by the Court of Appeal on September 29, 2017, he lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the motion on merit.
He held that determining the motion on merit would amount to an attempt to review the judgment of a higher court (Court of Appeal).
Justice Abang further held that Dasuki’s submissions, through Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), had become academic since the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the complaints.
“It would amount to judicial anarchy to hear Dasuki’s application on merit. If the applicant (Dasuki) is dissatisfied, he should know what to do and where to go, but certainly not this court”, he ruled.
The matter was adjourned to October 30, 2017.