Joseph Daudu (SAN)

Many have criticised the composition of the Justice Ayo Salami-led Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee newly constituted by the National Judicial Council.

This is because of the inclusion of some lawyers, including Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, as a member of the 15-man panel.

The critics say Daudu, like some other lawyers on the panel, is involved in some of the high-profile corruption cases that the committee is to monitor.

Prominent among Daudu’s clients who are being prosecuted for corruption charges are the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and a former Governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam.

Interestingly, may be many of the critics would have changed their narrative if they had witnessed the proceedings that took place before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday when Daudu appeared as Suswam’s lead defence counsel.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation was scheduled to open its case by calling its first witness to prove the allegation of diversion of a total sum of N9.79bn meant for Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme by Suswam and his two other former aides in the state.

But while expressing reservation about the attitude of the prosecution, Daudu indicated his readiness to go on, but the lawyer for one of the defendants, Mr. Innocent Daa’gba, expressed doubt if he would be able to cross-examine the witness.

Within a short period, the first prosecution witness led by Mr. Aminu Alilu from the AGF office commenced and ended his evidence-in-chief.

As if mindful of the role of his committee to monitor the factors constituting delay in the high-profile corruption cases, Daudu, without delay, started cross-examining the witness, and in a jiffy, he was done.

Yet, an adjournment was foisted on the court, but Daudu did not have a hand in it.

Justice Kolawole adjourned when Daa’gba said he needed to obtain a document to cross-examine the witness, whom he was only notified of by the prosecution on Monday.

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