A foremost Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) for Security consciousness, Citizens Initiatives for Security Awareness(CISA) has demanded the immediate release from detention the former National Security Adviser(NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) after two solid years in incarceration.
In a press briefing in Abuja, the Director of Mobilization of the group, Mr Ewache Ajefu said “We the members of CISA have noted with grave concern, the continuous illegal detention of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (Rtd). As a matter of fact, Friday, December 29, 2017 will make it exactly two years that he was re-arrested and detained on the orders of the Federal Government and has remained in incarceration since then.”
The group noted that “the reason adduced for his arrest and detention was that he misappropriated funds while in office as the National Security Adviser; he was also accused of illegal possession of firearms, 24 hours after leaving office”.
“As a foremost civil society group that has always stood behind and canvassed public support for the Nigerian government and its military in their fight against terror (even when it was fashionable for some disgruntled politicians to ridicule those efforts), CISA would like to strongly counsel the government against further detention of the erstwhile NSA.
“Without prejudice to the case in court or the charges against him, CISA recalls that bold initiatives and success stories were also recorded during his tenure as the NSA; these, among others include, the formation of Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which helped to muster the support of neighboring countries in the war on terror; the launching of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST) as the Soft Approach to counter violent extremism.
“These bold initiatives which has been sustained till date, are geared towards knowing the root causes of terrorism, understanding the problem of terrorism and finding appropriate and lasting solution.
CISA further said that “Yes, those charges against him are infractions of the law and we are not holding brief for him if he is found guilty but none of them are unbailable treasonable offences that should warrant the flagrant flouting of over four court orders to release him on bail.”
It would be recalled that Justice Adetokunbo Ademola and Justice Mohammed of the Federal High Court, as well as Justice Baba Yusuf and Justice Peter Afem of the FCT High Courts, had considered the merit of his applications and granted him bail. In the same vein, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, after listening to the case, ordered for his immediate release with compensation of N15million for the unlawful and illegal detentions. Despite these orders by these courts of competent jurisdictions, the government has inexplicably kept him behind bars.
The group also noted that “Even more strange is the fact that the only victory the government has secured so far against him is in the realm of media trial which he has been subjected to in the past two years; his name and reputation were thrashed and dragged into the mud, his bank accounts frozen and he was never allowed to visit his ailing father until he passed on.. These are harsh treatment which in our considered opinion should not be meted to former public officer who had put in the better part of his life in the service of his country, especially when he is yet to be convicted for any crime.
“It is essential to also point out that, against ill-informed insinuations the allegation of misappropriation by his office, not all funds in ONSA were meant for arms procurement. Under Special Service Office (SSO), funds were released for capacity building, intelligence gathering, strategic communication and special interventions through Non-Governmental Organizations among others.
“It is therefore the contention of CISA that since the offences for which he is detained and has suffered these humiliations do not border on treason, Mr Dasuki should be given the opportunity to state his own side of the story in the court of law, so that if he is eventually found guilty, let the law properly take its course.
“We believe that it is no longer tenable to keep him behind bars ad infinitum on the whims of whoever is keeping him. He is entering the third year in detention, and unless it is the plan of President Buhari to keep him out of circulation for the entire period of his four-year term, we of CISA, demand his immediate release and urge men and women of goodwill to join us in making this fair demand. Thank you and God bless you.