The federal government on Tuesday absolved itself of blame as to why the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), was not allowed to attend the burial of his father, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki who died on Monday, saying that his son had vehemently rejected the offer for his temporary release.
However, it has emerged that Sambo Dasuki turned down the offer to avoid the ordeal of arriving Sokoto with a retinue of DSS operatives who would have been detailed to accompany him and take him back into custody.
Despite three court rulings ordering his release, Dasuki has been in the custody of the DSS for almost a year on allegations of corruption and that he constitutes a security threat.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, yesterday explained that the former NSA had rejected the offer by the DSS to attend the funeral of his father.
Speaking with journalists shortly after paying a condolence visit to the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III in Sokoto, Dambuzau said the former NSA was given the opportunity to see his ailing father at a hospital in Abuja on Monday, but vehemently rejected the offer.
He also explained that the former NSA opted to pray for his late father while in detention.
However, lawyers to the Dasuki family confirmed to THISDAY that the former NSA had indeed rejected the offer because he considers his continued detention by the DSS as unlawful and did not want the temporary release offered by the DSS to attend his father’s burial with DSS operatives in tow.
The lawyers informed THISDAY that the late Sultan had tried to see his son as far back as January this year when he arrived Abuja from the United Kingdom, but was not allowed to see him.
“The former Sultan had arrived Abuja from London and sought permission to see his son, but the request was turned down.
“Even a Koran he had bought for his son could not be given to Sambo because he could not see him.
“Similarly, about a week ago, he was asked by the DSS if he would want to go and see his father who was lying critically ill and possibly slipping away at an Abuja hospital, but Sambo rejected the offer on the grounds that his father’s condition was critical and was in a state where communication was no longer possible, and therefore there was no reason to go to the hospital to see him.
“Sambo also maintained that he was not guilty of any of the charges brought against him by the federal government and there were three court rulings ordering that he should be released by the DSS but they had all been disobeyed.
“It was for this same reason, coupled with the fact that it would have been too painful for him to arrive Sokoto heavily guarded by DSS operatives, that informed the former NSA’s decision not to attend his father’s funeral today (yesterday),” said the lawyers.
Speaking on the former NSA’s absence at his father’s burial yesterday, Dambazau said: “As Minister of Interior, I discussed the issue with the Director General of DSS, Lawal Daura, on the need to allow the former NSA to see his father in the hospital Monday night, but when he was given the offer he rejected it.
“As the first son of the deceased, he was also offered the opportunity to attend his father’s funeral in Sokoto and even stay with his siblings and relatives throughout the mourning period but he refused.
“In fact, he opted to pray for his father while in detention. So, this is the true situation.”
He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari mandated him and six other ministers to commiserate with the Sultanate Council and the people of Sokoto over the death of Sultan Dasuki.
Dambazau described the late Sultan Dasuki as a great man who left behind a good legacy.
“Sultan Dasuki has lived a good life and left a good legacy. We pray God to forgive his sins and grant him paradise,” Dambazau added.
The Chief of Staff to the President and leader of the federal government delegation, Abba Kyari, did not utter a word, but presented a letter of condolence to the Sultan of Sokoto.
Responding, the Sultan thanked them for the visit and prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased.
“We are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for sending this delegation to condole us over the death of Sultan Dasuki.
“This is a great loss to us. He is our father and his time has come, so we pray to God to grant him eternal rest,” Sultan Abubakar said.
18th Sultan Buried
The remains of the 18th Sultan of Sokoto was buried around 3 p.m. at Hubbaren Shehu, the burial site of the Caliphate’s nobility.
The funeral prayer, which was led by Chief Imam, Malam Usman Bello Akwara, was held at the Sultan Bello Mosque, close to the Sultan’s Palace in Sokoto yesterday.
The prayer was attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emirs of Gwandu, Daura, Argungu, Anka, Moriki, Mafara, Bungudu and several emirs from northern Nigeria.
The governors of Kebbi, Kano, Bauchi and Katsina States were also in attendance.
The federal government delegation was represented by Kyari, Dambazau, Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Federal Capital Territory Muhammad Bello, and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
Also at the mosque were the former NSA, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd); former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; former Minister of Mines and Steel, Ahmed Gusau; former Minister of Transport, Yusuf Suleiman; and the president’s nephew, Mamman Daura, among others.
Buhari, Tambuwal Mourn
In his condolence message, Buhari expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Dasuki family and the government and people of Sokoto State on the death of the 18th Sultan of Sokoto.
Buhari, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Garba Shehu, also commiserated with the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs over the demise of the remarkable traditional ruler who devoted his life and tenure of office to the promotion of peaceful coexistence and tolerance among diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The president said he joined them in mourning the passing of one of Nigeria’s most powerful voices for peace and unity in diversity, who diligently kept faith with the virtues of the Sardauna whom he had served as a public servant.
Apart from modernising the traditional institution to bring it in tune with the changing times, Buhari said he believed that the late Ibrahim Dasuki, who died at the age of 93, would be long remembered for his role in the creation of the present local government system in the country.
The president also paid tribute to his contribution to national peace and development, particularly his significant role in producing the report that gave birth to the current local government councils.
Buhari prayed to Almighty Allah to comfort the family of the late Sultan, grant the deceased eternal rest and reward his good virtues with paradise.
Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal also described the late Dasuki as a pioneer reformist who deployed his wide knowledge of Islam and vast experience as a technocrat to have a profound impact on his family, community and the nation at large.
In a message of condolence by the governor’s media aide, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said at every stage of his life, Dasuki gave his all to ensure communal harmony and the educational development of the citizenry.
“The history of local government reform in Nigeria will not be complete without the mention of the important role Dasuki and his colleagues played in giving the country the present structure we are enjoying at the third tier of government.
“For the eight years Dasuki spent on the throne as Sultan of Sokoto, he gave priority attention to the educational development of our people by promoting adult and women literacy in all parts of Sokoto.
“He equally paid attention to the revitalisation of religious education, especially among Imams of various mosques in the Caliphate.
“He dedicated time, energy and resources in promoting religious harmony especially between Muslims in the North and South-west of the country. So also were his efforts at promoting peaceful coexistence between and among various religious groups within the country and beyond,” the statement read.
Tambuwal prayed to Almighty Allah to grant Sultan Dasuki jannatul-firdaus, adding that the people would continue to cherish the deceased’s contributions to the development of the Caliphate and the state at large.
The governor also commiserated with Sultan Abubakar and late Sultan Dasuki’s family on the painful loss.