Insist ex-NSA’s security detail yet to be withdrawn when his house was searched
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Department of State Service (DSS) has told the ECOWAS Court of Justice that there was intelligence that the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Muhammad Sambo Dasuki, planned to escape from the country.
The DSS noted that Dasuki was being kept to make sure he did not escape.
The court was told that Dasuki’s security details, including soldiers had not been withdrawn when his Asokoro residence in Abuja was searched over allegations of unlawful possession of fire arms last year.
An operative of the DSS, Mr. Williams Obiora, told the court that a retinue of security agents mainly soldiers were still in the house of the ex-NSA guarding him when the DSS stormed the house in search for weapons.
Obiora said: “We got to the residence on the said date to discover that there were soldiers who guarded him in the house. Efforts to serve him with a search warrant was resisted by the soldiers as they claimed that they could not access him.
“So, we contacted our office which liaised with the military highest authority who advised the soldiers to allow us in because we were there legally. Eventually, we had access to the house and we executed the search.”
Obiora told the court that Dasuki was arrested and kept in custody for two reasons.
The witness claimed that the ex-NSA was being kept in the DSS custody for his personal security in view of allegations against him on arm purchase and also to prevent him from possible escape from justice.
He said: “There are two basic reasons why he is still in our custody. One, for his own interest. For his own personal protection because some of the politicians implicated in the arms deal from the intelligence available to us…(he paused.) Two, there is intelligence indicating that he can get out of this country thereby evading justice. These are the two main reasons.
“In the course of the search, some of the suspected items that took us to the house were recovered. These include five Tavor Assault Rifles and others,” he said.
On whether Dasuki asked DSS for protection, Obiora said he was not aware as to whether Dasuki made any such request. “He does not need to make a request before we give him protection if his life is in danger, and we owe him a responsibility to ensure he suffers no harm.
Pressed further, Obiora also agreed that Dasuki’s detention was not pursuant to any judicial proceedings.
Dasuki’s lawyer, Roberts Emukperuo, however said that there was no need keeping Dasuki in protective custody because he never requested protection from the DSS or anybody.
Dasuki’s counsel tendered an affidavit evidence by the DSS confirming that as at 24 August 2015 the DSS had completed the investigation, querying that “if it had been concluded there was no need re-arresting him?”
However, Emukperuo said the oral evidence given by the defence was mostly at variance with the documents filed before the court.
According to him, a party must be consistent in stating, proving and arguing his case. “He cannot state one case in his pleading and in the process of arguing it, he takes a somersault”, he declard,
Emukperuo further averred that Obiora alluded to only two reasons why the applicant was detained.
“He did not mention national security. He said for his own safety and so that he won’t escape. He didn’t cite national security concerns. So, the evidence of Obiora did not support the statement of defence because they are at variance”, he added.
Having listened to submissions by both parties, the presiding judge, Justice Friday Nwoke, fixed judgment on June 29, 2016.
Dasuki had dragged the federal government before the regional court claiming that his fundamental right to freedom was being infringed upon by his detention since December 2015.
The Ex-NSA prayed the court to order his immediate release and also a payment of N500 million as compensatory damages for his unlawful detention and seizure of property.
Also yesterday, the Federal High Court in Abuja was told that no weapons were found in the Guest House of Dasuki when it was searched by the operatives of the DSS last year.
At the resumed trial of Dasuki on charges of unlawful possession of firearms, the government witness, Mr. Samuel Ogbu who was under cross examination confirmed to the court that no incriminating items was found in the guest house by the security agent.
Ogbu who is an operative of DSS was cross-examined by counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN) and insisted that the only weapons recovered was in the house of the ex-NSA
The witness told Justice Adeniyi Ademola that some money was found in Dasuki’s house but that he would not know whether the defendant committed money laundering offence or not because he does not know the definition of money laundering under the law.
Further trial has been adjourned till June 8 and 9 2016 at the instance of Dasuki’s lawyers.