Dasuki: FG Changes Gear •To Shield Witnesses •Trial Arouses Suspicion

By cattnews on June 16, 2017


Views: 573



The trial of the former National Security Adviser to past president Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) is now taking on an interesting dimension.

Interesting because of the shady nature of the trouble Dasuki is enmeshed in, the actual facts surrounding the trouble and the principal character involved, president Muhammadu Buhari.

For reasons best known to the presidency, Dasuki’s arrest far preceded his appearance in court.

It took the federal government a dangerously too long a time to pin actual charges on Dasuki.

And when it finally did, the case assumed an hurricane effect as it gathered many prominent Nigerians in its wake, most of them still smarting from the unpleasant ordeal.

For a very long time Dasuki was locked up away from court processes and injunctions, even bails granted.

The case, even, appeared in the regional court, with the federal government not changing its position on the matter. 

Even, the family of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who had once handled the case, went through hell over the matter. There were insinuations of money having changed hands because of the refusal of Ademola to do the federal government’s bidding.

Of note, however, is the explained position of the presidency on the matter. The Presidency had, on Tuesday May 22, said the Federal Government was still detaining Dasuki, because there are many cases against him.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this while addressing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He was joined by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina; and the SSA on Media and Publicity to the Acting President, Laolu Akande.

Shehu said while Dasuki secured court bails in some of the cases, there were many other cases against him.

Dasuki’s case was mentioned alongside that of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shiites), Sheikh Ibrahim El- Zakzaky.

Afterwards, the federal government continued playing its dilly-dally with the judiciary over the matter. 

On several occasions, the Department of the State Service (DSS) had failed to produce Dasuki in Court, till the latest bombshell!

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday granted the Federal Government’s application to shield witnesses in the ongoing trial of the former National Security Adviser.

Dasuki, according to the charge sheet, is being prosecuted on a seven-count charge bordering on theft of Federal Government’s sophisticated weapons, illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.

Ruling on the federal government’s application, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, said the witnesses would be shielded from the press and the general public.

The judge, however, said that such witnesses  would be visible to him, (the judge), the defendant, the prosecution as well as members of  the defence teams.

According to the Judge, the application was in order since Section 232 (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 allowed the prosecution to protect its witnesses in cases involving economic and financial crimes.

“Section 232 (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act permits the use of a screen in a charge of economic and financial crimes; and money laundering is part of the charges instituted against the defendant.

“Therefore, the request is in order, especially when it has not been shown that it will prejudice against the defendant.”  Mohammed declared.

The judge therefore  dismissed the objection by Dasuki’s lead counsel, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), who had  argued that the application constituted an abuse of court process.

Raji based his argument on the grounds that a similar application filed by the prosecution in the same case had been dismissed by the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.

The prosecuting counsel, Oladipo Okpeseyi, had on May 11 filed an application praying the court to order that witnesses in the matter be protected.

The same application has been argued before Justice Ademola but he did not deliver a ruling before the matter was transferred to another court.

He said the witnesses were security operatives who carried out covert operations with the defendant as their boss and urged the court to allow the witnesses give evidence behind a shield.

The prosecution stressed that Section 232 (1) of ACJA permitted the witnesses to be  so shielded or masked.

He added that shielding the witnesses would not prevent the defence from cross examining them as they would be visible to the defence.

Ordinarily, such a concession is not normal in a democratic system, unless the case is extremely sensitive, at worst, bordering on treason which is not the case in the matter of Dasuki.

What is at stake is the safety of the defendant in view of the sensitive nature of  the case and the persons involved.

Should the trial slated to commence on  September 20 and 21, as fixed by the judge, be allowed to continue, there is every likelihood of a miscarriage of justice.

For one, it is a sensitive case, which involves high-profile Nigerians and thus has so many narratives floating around. 

In a widely circulated report, the embattled former NSA dismissed insinuations that his detention has to do with a retaliation of similar  maltreatment he meted out to President Muhammadu Buhari in 1985. 

Dasuki, in his account contained in the book, ‘Against the Run of Play’, authored by chairman of Thisday newspaper Editorial Board, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, also stressed the enormous support he gave to President Buhari in the build-up to the 2011 general election. 

In the extracts of the encounter between the two, Dasuki said: “I always respect and dignify my seniors and those in positions of authority, whether in service or after. Though as a young officer, I was reluctant to be among those that arrested him. And I was not. 

“I only met him afterward at Bonny Camp with Lawal Rafindadi. There is no way I could have maltreated him as being alleged in some quarters. I am glad most of the actors are still alive.”

Explaining his role earlier interaction with Buhari, Dasuki admitted that he and two young military officers (who are still alive) ‘travelled to Jos to brief Major General Buhari, who was then the GOC of 3rd Armoured Division on the furtherance of the planning of the 1983 coup which made Buhari the major beneficiary of the ouster of the elected President Shehu Shagari.’ 

Adeniyi added: “He even told me how Buhari expressed his bitterness about insinuations on his stewardship in one of the public institutions. Dasuki assured the then GOC not to worry about such reckless and mischievous insinuations. ‘’I asked why he participated in the ouster of Buhari just less than two years afterward. He simply answered that General Buhari should know whom he should blame.” 

In the book, the author stated that “One of those who worked tirelessly to make the 2011 alliance between Tinubu and Buhari work was Colonel Sambo Dasuki, who would later become the National Security Adviser to Jonathan.” 

Also, Dasuki had, in an encounter with a blogger and the Publisher of the Economic Confidential, Mr. Yushau Shuaib, in 2015, said he had supported Buhari’s presidential aspiration in 2003, 2007 and 2011. 

In a piece by the blogger, titled:  ‘Sambo Dasuki: An Encounter with the spymaster’, Dasuki said he knelt down in 2011 for the former National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande, to make Buhari a joint candidate of the ACN and the defunct Congress of Peoples Congress (CPC). He said Nigerians could verify from respected Northerners, such as Adamu Adamu, Bashir Kurfi, Wada Maida, Sule Hamman and Kabir Yusuf,  among others. 

The journalist added: “The major shocker for me in his narratives was his campaign for Buhari to emerge the joint candidate of ACN and CPC in 2011. “He disclosed how he (Dasuki) pleaded with Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu in the presence of Bisi Akande to accept Muhammad Buhari as the joint presidential candidate for ACN and CPC. 

“Dasuki stated that he knelt down, begging ‘Baba Bisi Akande’ who was then the National Chairman of ACN that ‘General Buhari is a man to be trusted.’

“In their belief that Yoruba and South Westerners are never religious fanatics, especially regarding politics, Dasuki and his group suggested that Tinubu should be a running mate to Buhari. 

“When other elements opposed that proposition, Tinubu team, therefore, recommended a Buhari-Osinbajo ticket. Unfortunately, the ticket failed to stick as Pastor Tunde Bakare was eventually pushed forward by other forces.” 

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was later to be Buhari’s running mate in 2015 and the nation’s current Vice President. 

Whatsoever the truth as regard Dasuki’s case may be, it should be remembered that he is a Nigerian with rights, thus should be respected and treated as such.

Source cattnews

Posted 16/06/2017 7:35:51 PM




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