Operatives of the Department of the State Services have re-arrested a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
He was re-arrested at the gate of the Kuje Prison, Abuja, at about 11.15pm on Tuesday while he was about leaving the prison after meeting the bail conditions set for him by a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.
The DSS took custody of Dasuki shortly after perfecting the third bail granted him by Justice Peter Affem, after two other courts had done same.
Counsel for Dasuki, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Wednesday that the ex-NSA had met all the bail conditions given him by Justice Affem but regretted that the court order was not obeyed by the operatives of the DSS.
He said, “That’s correct, he was re-arrested by the operatives of the DSS and whisked away to an unknown destination.
“He met the bail conditions set for him by the judge, but as he was stepping outside the prison, he was re-arrested.”
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, also in Abuja, had granted the ex-NSA bail on November 3 in the charge of unlawful possession of firearms, but the bail was on November 4 scuttled by the SSS operatives, who laid siege to his Asokoro residence and placed him under house arrest.
The claim of the security agents was that there was an investigation into another suspected fraud involving Dasuki.
He was later arraigned before Justice Yusuf Baba of the Abuja High Court on breach of trust and was granted bail, but which the DSS also did not obey.
Dasuki was also moved to another High Court where Justice Affem, admitted him on bail on the grounds that the offence was a bailable one.
He was also said to have met the bail conditions but was not released from the custody of the secret operatives after his detention at the DSS, EFCC and Kuje Prison in Abuja.
Raji, who perfected the bail conditions of his client, disclosed that the action of the security agents was an affront to the rule of law under democracy.
The lawyer appealed to the authorities of the security agents and the Federal Government to respect the court order and allow Dasuki to enjoy the bail granted him by a law court in the country.
Dasuki is facing two sets of criminal charges involving alleged diversion of about N45bn meant for arms procurement, along with others before two judges of the FCT High Court, Abuja.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, said Dasuki’s re-arrest would be justified if the DSS were investigating other alleged crimes against him other than the one for which he had been arraigned and granted bail.
He said, “It is possible that they want to charge him with a different offence; perhaps they are investigating another offence that is different from the ones they have charged him with. Of course, the bail he was granted is restricted to the offence and the charge pending before the court. If he is being arrested for a different issue entirely, which is not related to this pending charge, I would say the DSS has not done anything wrong. But, of course, his lawyer could also go to court to find out why he is being detained.”
A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Dele Adeogun, said Nigerians should not jump into conclusion, noting that the DSS had earlier been accused of high-handedness when it prevented Dasuki from travelling abroad until the fresh facts about Dasukigate came into the open.
Adeogun, however, expressed reservation over the piece-meal manner in which the DSS was conducting its investigations.
He called on the security agency to conclude all its investigations and charge Dasuki to court on all offences once and for all.
Adeogun said, “There is no law that says a man cannot be tried for many offences. For me, it might be too early to begin to talk about the illegality or otherwise of the DSS action. But we urge them, they can’t be doing investigation in bit and pieces, that is the only area where I have reservation. Whatever they have, even though you cannot lump up some of those charges, you should bring it out once and for all.”
But a human right lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, condemned Dasuki’s re-arrest, saying it was sign that the Buhari government was dictatorial and was humiliating the judiciary.
Adegboruwa said, “I seriously feel that this government is treading the path of dictatorship; this government is treading the path of anarchy and it is trying to humiliate the judiciary.
“It is clear to all of us that the President is not a democrat. It is clear to all of us that the President is not living by his oath to protect the constitution. I am not holding brief for Dasuki; if he has been found culpable of any wrongdoing he should be tried in the court of law.
“To have arrested him and taken him into custody is to openly be pointing hands in the face of the court. And when we get to the stage where the executive has no respect for the judiciary, we are approaching anarchy. We are approaching despotism and once people lose confidence in the judiciary we get to the state of anarchy and lawlessness; we’d get to a stage where individuals will no longer be ready to submit themselves to the rule of law.”
He appealed to the President and the Vice President, who is a professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, “not to throw us back into the stone age of dictatorship.”