Still on Dasuki as victim of persecution
THE Federal Government has left no one in doubt that it is out to persecute Col. Sambo Dasuki, for whatever reason as it has locked in the former National Security Adviser; his freedom curtailed. Government and its agencies refused to obey the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja which last Thursday, granted Dasuki leave to travel out of the country for medical check-up. Dasuki was to travel to the United Kingdom for medical examination. But when he got hint that operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) were waiting for him at the airport, he had to cancel his trip.
Then the very next day, DSS operatives shifted base to Dasuki’s house. They took over the premises, ensuring that no one goes in or comes out. No one understood their mission this time. But the office of the Director General of the DSS claimed that it was there to force Dasuki to appear before a panel set up by the office of the National Security Adviser that is probing arms purchases during the regime of former president, Goodluck Jonathan. Dasuki insisted that he was never invited by anybody to appear before any investigation committee.
Why is the DSS involved in a matter that belongs to the office of the NSA? If Dasuki refuses to appear before a committee set up by the office of the NSA, is it the DSS that should enforce his appearance? What is the job of the police? What are the courts doing? Besides, DSS said that it was adopting the legal option to ensure Dasuki’s appearance. The DSS’ action is uncivil in a democratic setting. Government is the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge. This is a threat to democracy.
Dasuki was to be away for only three weeks. Couldn’t his traducers have waited for him to return? The whole scenario is to ensure that Dasuki will not escape the snare. His residences in Abuja and Sokoto came under siege in July this year with truck loads of operatives of DSS. Days later, they charged him to court accused of crimes ranging from treason, felony, illegal possession of arms, abuse of office and the like. But the accusers reduced the sundry charges to one. Then, as the trial went on, government remembered more charges to include money laundering and more.
The strange application by government for the secret trial of Dasuki sounds like a story from far away lands where dictatorship is the order of the day. It is never heard of that people are secretly tried in a free and civil society as it goes against the very grain of civilisation, people’s freedom, fundamental human rights and democracy. Regrettably, government is not embarrassed as it has taken over Dasuki’s house, preventing him from travelling. Now, who will call government and its agencies to order? If government cannot obey the law, who then should?
It is worrisome that a government that should show the way is weighed down by the pursuit of vendetta. People who know President Buhari are still worried that the man has no forgiving spirit. Is Buhari trying to get at Dasuki for the role he played in Buhari’s ouster as military head of state 30 years ago. It seems time does not heal wounds.
Since the government of the day is not embarrassed by its own action, and since there is no one to call it to order, Dasuki has returned to court to enforce his fundamental human rights. But will the courts help him this time? Will the government obey the court? That is our collective dilemma. In this wise, we must remind those sitting askance and watching helplessly that Dasuki’s travail is our collective travail. If we allow the government to get away with illegality, it will become emboldened to do more heinous things. We should all stand up to be counted in our opposition to fascism and dictatorship. This is actually the season and time for human rights crusaders and democratic forces to come together against full blown dictatorship.
• Professor Handel writes from Awka, Anambra State.