- Says he’s been in solitary confinement
- N4bn paid to 29 ghost workers, NSA’s auditing and verification exercise reveals
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja and Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos
Detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has dragged the federal government to an Abuja High Court challenging his incarceration in the custody of the Department of the State Security Service (DSS) since December last year.
In the new suit, Dasuki is praying the court to order his immediate release from detention either conditionally or un-conditionally.
The suit marked FCT/HC/ABJ/CV/2005/2016 instituted on his behalf by Messrs Joseph Daudu SAN and Ahmed Raji SAN was brought pursuant to Order 11, Rule 1, 2 and 3 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rule 2009.
Dasuki, who claimed that his fundamental right to freedom of liberty and dignity to life had been grossly violated by the federal government with his detention, prayed for an order of the court to compel the federal government to pay him N15 billion as general damages and compensation for his alleged illegal detention in violation of his rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
He also prayed the court to compel defendants in the suit to jointly and severally tender a public apology to him to be published in two national dailies for the violation of his rights.
Defendants in the court action are the Department of State Security Service (DSSS), National Security Adviser (NSA), Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Dasuki asked the court to declare that he was entitled to his rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of movement, private and family life and to acquire and own properties as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
He also wants the court to declare that his arrest and continuous detention since December 29, 2015 in the custody of the DSSS and NSA by officers of the federal government without allowing him access to his medical personnel, members of his family and without charging him to court within the time prescribed by law is wrongful, unlawful, un-constitutional and a violation of his right granted by the country’s constitution.
In a 43-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summon, the applicant claimed to be a retired army officer, decent with no criminal record, lawfully resident in Nigeria and had served the country in various capacities.
He averred that on July 16, 2015, the agents of the federal government unlawfully invaded his houses in Abuja and Sokoto and that during the invasion, his properties mainly cars and monies were unlawfully carted away.
In the affidavit deposed to by one of his sons, Abubakar Dasuki, the applicant claimed that in protest against the unlawful invasion and detention, he instituted a court action at a federal high court for the enforcement of his right.
Upon receipt of the court process, the affidavit claimed that the federal government quickly charged him to court in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/319/15 in September 2015 and that he was granted bail by the court.
Dasuki averred that upon his bail, he applied for court permission to travel abroad for medical attention and that the court granted him approval on November 3, 2015 but the following day, the security operatives in brazen defiance of the court permission, laid siege on his house and dis-allowed the trip.
He claimed that in spite of his life threatening ailment and persuasions, his house was kept under siege during which he was not allowed to move out or receive any member of his family and visitors.
Dasuki said that on December 1, 2015, the DSS operatives arrested him and that the following day, he was moved to EFCC custody from where he was on December 13 arraigned in an Abuja high court in the charge FCT/HC/CR/43/2015 where he was also admitted to bail.
The applicant claimed that he was on December 15, 2015 arraigned in the third court in the charge FCT/HC/CR/42/2016 where he was also granted bail.
Upon his release on bail at Kuje prison on December 29, 2015, Dasuki averred that he was re-arrested by the operatives of the DSS and had since been kept in solitary conferment, thereby impairing his ability to provide for his family.
The affidavit indicated that the concern and apprehension of his family became compounded when president Muhammadu Buhari in his maiden Presidential media chat of December 30, 2015 said that Dasuki will not be released because of the weight of charges against him and that he may likely jump bail.
The applicant claimed that unless the court comes to his rescue by protecting him and order his immediate release, his right to life, human dignity, personal liberty, privacy, family life, freedom of movement and right to own properties already impaired and violated by the defendants will continue to be impaired and put in jeopardy.
The case has been assigned to Justice Peter Kekemekun. The court is however on vacation.
In another development, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has reportedly unearthed a whopping N4billion fraud involving 29 ghost workers supposedly working in the presidency after an auditing and verification exercise said to have been carried out on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari.
THISDAY gathered that the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagna Monguno (rtd), was said to have carried out the exercise and in the process uncovered the fraud.
A source in the NSA office who spoke on the issue said: “Monguno uncovered over N4 billion security fraud within the Presidency. A security audit and verification exercise ordered by the President, uncovered these can of worms in Aso Rock.
‘The verification exercise showed that about 29 ghost security personnel have been on security pay roll in the presidency over the years.
“Prior to the emergence of Buhari’s administration, the internal Aso rock security budget was N6.5 billion for 2015 and to sanitise the security circle in the presidency, Monguno sought and got approval to embark on the verification exercise.
The source said, “The N4billion was alleged to be part of the N6.5billion dedicated to the security personnel and logistics in the presidency, most of which allegedly went into private pockets.
“The NSA, who considered the N6.5 billion as outrageous, insisted that it should be reduced. He subsequently brought the figure down to N2billion. It was a move commended and approved by the President.
“Expectedly, the verification exercise did not go down well with some persons in and around the security circle. These people felt the exercise would expose their dirty deals.”
Speaking further, the source said: “A particular security agency delayed their auditing and verification for six months before releasing its personnel for the exercise few days ago. Interestingly, under the N6.5 fraudulent budget regime, junior security personnel in the presidency received N18, 000 per month, while senior personnel were entitled to N35, 000 only, with no form of welfare packages.
“Currently, under the supervision of Monguno, with a realistic budget of N2 billion being effectively deployed to the general benefit and welfare of men and women saddled with the responsibility of the safety and security in the presidency; the junior security personnel who were paid N18,000 under the N6.5billion budget regime, now enjoy a minimum of N80,000, while the senior personnel who received N35,000 then, now collect a minimum of N150, 000, including other benefits.”
“The new security budget regime, introduced another new middle level cadre of personnel, with a minimum of N100,000 monthly allowances and attached benefits.”
“This upward review of allowances, it was learnt, is to ensure professional hierarchy and discipline. This aims at boosting the morale of all the security personnel in the discharge of their statutory duties.
“Aside from the increment in monthly allowances of staff, another quarterly allowance was also said to have been introduced by the Office of the NSA as special duty quarterly allowance for security personnel in the presidency.
“Under this arrangement, N80,000, N85,000 and N90,000 go to junior, middle and senior cadres respectively. This measure is to ensure professionalism is maintained.”