A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ahmed Raji, who is a leader of the defence team of the immediate-past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, on Monday debunked the claim by the Department of State Service that the ex-NSA opted to remain in custody.
The DSS has kept Dasuki in its custody since December 2015 in violation of series of court orders for his release.
Reacting to scathing criticisms over its culture of violating court orders in the wake of its refusal to comply with the court order for the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, from custody, the DSS said it continued to hold them, Dasuki and the leader of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria, Sheikh El-Zakzaky, and his wife because they opted to remain in the detention of the agency.
Sowore’s lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), had earlier debunked the claim, highlighting how the agency made three contradictory statements within a week in its bid to explain away its decision not to release the Sahara Reporters publisher and his co-defendant in violation of court orders.
Also debunking the agency’s claim on Monday, Dasuki’s lawyer, Raji, wondered why an individual would opt to remain in custody.
He stated, “It is therefore most incorrect and inaccurate to claim that Col. Dasuki prayed the court to be kept in DSS facility.
“This is far from the truth. Perhaps, there is no synergy between the counsel appearing for the government in Dasuki matters and the DSS hierarchy. Consequently, we appeal to all authorities, and principally – DSS, to comply with the various extant orders of the court by immediately releasing Col. Dasuki (retd.).”
Raji recalled how on November 3, 2015, the Federal High Court, Abuja, after granting to Dasuki on self-recognisance, also granted him leave to travel abroad for a three-week medical consultation, on account of failing health.
He added that before Dasuki could enforce the court orders, “officers of Department of State Service, laid siege to his house in Asokoro, in brazen defiance of the order of court; and deliberately disallowed him from accomplishing the terms of the order.”
He added, “The Federal Government, while confirming the continued detention of Col. Dasuki, explained that such actions were due to the severity of the alleged offences. Excerpts of these events were well stated in several reports of national dailies of 31st December, 2015.
“In complying with the due process of law, Col. Dasuki filed processes seeking to extend the travel period granted by the Federal High Court and the DSS vehemently opposed the application and continued to barricade Col. Dasuki’s residence.
“Shortly thereafter, two separate charges were preferred against him at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in Charge No. FCT/CR/42/2015 & Charge No. FCT/CR/43/2015 against Col. Dasuki, while DSS continued to detain him on purported investigation on allegations of money laundering offences.
“Bail was subsequently granted on the charges on December 21, 2015, and December 18, 2015, terms of which were duly complied with. Consequently, he was released by the Kuje Prison authorities where he was remanded, but on stepping out of the gate of the prison, he was seized by the men of DSS and he has been kept by them since.
“Since the re-arrest of Col. Dasuki in December 2015, no further investigation was carried out and no new charges were preferred against him.
“The ECOWAS Court ordered his immediate release and also awarded N5m damages against the Federal Government. Despite the fact that Nigeria is a member of the ECOWAS, the judgment of ECOWAS was disregarded by the Federal Government.
“Finally, a fundamental human rights action was filed on behalf of Col. Dasuki at the Federal High Court – Abuja, on March 15, 2018, seeking to protect his right to dignity of his person, personal liberty, freedom of movement, private and family life, as enshrined under sections 34(1), 35(1), (4) & (5), 37 & 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal High Court, Coram: Justice Ijeoma L. Ojukwu, on the 2nd of July 2018, found the continued detention of Col. Dasuki to be unlawful and granted bail on terms.
“The Federal Government, has since 2015, failed to comply with any of the bail orders of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Federal High Court as well as the ECOWAS Court, granted in favour of Col. Dasuki.”