Again DSS invades Dasuki’s Asokoro residence
Barely 24 hours after the Federal High Court released the Travel documents of erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) laid siege at his Asokoro residence, restricting his movement.
But the service in a statement signed by Tony Opuiyo denied any wrongdoing.
Dasuki who was granted bail by the court and given his international Passport, hitherto seized by the security operatives, on the grounds that he require urgent medical attention abroad was reported to have been kept under what looked like a house arrest at his John Kadiya Street residence in Asokoro Abuja. No reason was initially given by the security agency for the siege, even as it was hinted that it was another plan to collect the passport and institute another charge different from the ones, he is facing trial for.
There were DSS operatives inside the house and some others strolling around, similar to the first invasion on Sallah day that led to his present trial. A source close to the immediate past NSA said the DSS actually had invited Dasuki to their office, but he refused, telling them that he has nothing to do with them outside of the court.
“They earlier came to the house, but were told he is sleeping that is why they are just hanging outside the house. Perhaps waiting like they waited last night (Wednesday) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, to catch him. For now we can’t tell what their mission is, but for the whole day, you can see the man is kept indoors against his will.”
The Guardian observed that two operational pick-up trucks of the DSS was parked at the end of the street, with the driver and one other armed passenger sitting in one, while the other has three operatives including the driver, monitoring movement around the house. These are besides other two stern-looking operatives of the DSS sitting just by the entrance gate to the No13 John Kadiya street house, while others, disguised as ordinary people walking up and down the street also housing Plateau and Oyo Governors’ lodges.
As the siege lasted, Dasuki refused to come out from his house, but a few cars were allowed to enter the compound, unlike the July 17 siege, where operatives took over the whole compound, including the security post.
Dasuki has been charged with possession of arms without license, an offence punishable under section 27(i)(a)(i) of the Firearms Act Cap F28 LFN 2004 and money laundering by the federal government, but was given leave to travel abroad for medical check up.
The siege is seen as another ploy to prevent him from traveling abroad. Another source at the DSS told The Guardian that the Service might arrest him again and slam fresh criminal charges on him, so as to collect his travel documents again to prevent him from going outside the shores of the country. “Before he can get another judgment to collect the passports again, it would take a little time; by then, our investigation will be completed and the full prosecution would commence. There would be no need to grant him bail again.”
DSS denies laying siege on Dasuki
But the DSS yesterday denied reports that it illegally blocked the residence of the former NSA in violation of a subsisting court order granting him a relief to travel overseas for medical services.
A statement signed by Opuiyo of the DSS described the report as not only unfounded and malicious but also aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Service.
“It may be recalled that Sambo 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 Service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on 4th November, 2015, is his refusal to appear before a Committee undertaking the investigation of 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 Sambo 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 Sambo 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 than to adopt legal means to ensure his attendance.
“Therefore, without doubt, Sambo is 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. However, any person or group, no matter how highly placed, that may wish to test the will of the present democratic dispensation, will definitely be checked through the legal provisions of the law.”
In a swift reaction however, Colonel Dasuki denied ever receiving any invitation letter to appear before a Committee set up by the current administration to investigate procurement processes relating to any arms transaction by the last administration, under which he served.
Responding to the DSS, whose operatives laid siege to his residence on the day he was supposed to travel abroad for medical treatment, Dasuki added that it was strange that a committee purported to be operating from the office of the NSA could have transferred its mandate to the DSS.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court last Tuesday granted Mr. Dasuki’s request for his passport to be released, to enable him receive treatment abroad.
His attempt to travel on Wednesday and Thursday for the medical treatment was thwarted by operative of secret service.