The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied illegally blocking the residence of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), in violation of a subsisting court order granting him a relief to travel oversea for medical treatment.
According to a statement signed by Tony Opuiyo of the DSS, the security agency is preventing Dasuki from travelling because of his refusal to honour an invitation to explain his role in the procurement processes relating to a $2b billion arms transaction by the last administration.
According to the statement, “It may be recalled that Dasuki was initially arrested and charged to court for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering, for which reason his international passport was seized and, on the order of the court, returned to the registrar for custody. What has however brought the seeming standoff between Sambo and the DSS, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on November, 4, 2015, is his refusal to appear before a committee investigating an entirely different case.
“The public may wish to note that the government set up the committee to investigate procurement processes relating to a $2billion arms transaction by the last administration, under which Dasuki was the NSA.
“It was on this premise that he was invited by the committee to shed more light on his involvement in the deal. It, therefore, remains surprising and shocking that Dasuki has refused to honour invitations of the committee but instead resorts to grandstanding and subtle blackmail of the Service. His refusal to appear before the committee has left the Service with no option but to adopt legal means to ensure his attendance.”
The statement further added that Dasuki had been “pulling all strings available to him to evade justice and put the Service in bad light.
“The simple fact is that the DSS is not persecuting him. Nigerians are therefore enjoined to disregard the impression being created by him. This Service wishes to re-emphasise its commitment to the rule of law and strict adherence to democratic ideals.”
The DSS, however, warned that any person or group, no matter how highly placed, that may wish to test the will of the present administration would be brought to account in line with the laws of the land.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola in of the federal high court in Abuja had, in his rulling on Dasuki’s request for medical treatment abroad, dismissed the counter argument by the prosecuting counsel, opposing Dasuki’s need for medical check-up outside the country.
Justice AdemoIa held that, in criminal trial, an accused person is assumed innocent until proved guilty and that a citizen’s health is very paramount in any trial before the law.
He, therefore, ordered for the release of the applicant’s international passports to enable “him to attend a three-week medical treatment”.
According to an informed security source, Dasuki was supposed to travel out of the country Wednesday night but had to return to his home when he got wind that DSS operatives were waiting for him at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“Col Dasuki was on his way to the airport yesterday Wednesday night when he was told that some security operatives from the DSS were waiting for him at the airport to prevent him from traveling. Their thought was that he might not return for trial if allowed to go,” the source disclosed.
“As if that was not enough, this morning (yesterday), the DSS operatives surrounded his house in Asokoro as if he has been put under house arrest and as we talk now, they are still there.”
The source further disclosed that the former Adamawa State governor, Mr Boni Haruna, who is his guarantor, was invited after the court ruling by DSS operatives where he was cautioned over the implications of standing as a guarantor to Dasuki who may not return for his trial.
The former NSA was first charged on Monday, August 24, 2015, on a one-count charge of illegal possession of firearms but was immediately granted bail on self-recognition with Justice Ademola ordering the DSS to submit his seized passport to the court registrar.
On the day of the hearing, the prosecutors brought additional charges bordering on possession of local and foreign currencies against Sambo Dasuki and also sought secret trial of the case.
Concerned about his ill-health, Dasuki asked the court for the release of his travel passport to enable him attend to his personal health issues abroad. He also objected to the secret trial requested by the federal government, preferring an open trial of the case for the benefit of the public.