Dasuki not a fugitive but legally retired Army Officer: Lawyer
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), is a lawfully retired officer of the Nigerian Army, has lawyer has maintained.
The counsel to Dasuki, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN) debunked the claim that the ex-NSA was a fugitive and being held by the Department of State Service (DSS) on alleged breach of army service rule.
Raji said that contrary to the claim by the Prosecuting Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he (Dasuki) deserted the Nigerian Army, the retired Colonel legally left the Army in 1994 and his exit in the military was officially gazetted by the Federal government through the former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1999.
According to Dasuki’s lawyer, the allegation was a fallacy and a concocted lie to confuse the court as the prosecution has no answer to the well-grounded objection raised by the defence.
The lawyer claimed that “the allegation of fugitive against Dasuki cannot hold water or stand in the face of the law in view of the official gazette of the Federal Government that confirmed his retirement from the military.
“It is curious that the prosecution counsel who initially claimed ignorance of the reason behind the denial of bail is now coming up with these excuses… I am tempted to believe that my learned friend, Mr. Rotimi Jacob SAN, must be genuinely mixing up facts or mistake of identity.
“The allegation is baseless, unwarranted and malicious because his exit was in the gazette of the Federal government. We accordingly urge those holding Dasuki in custody in flagrant disobedience to the court order that granted him bail to have a rethink and respect the rule of law.”
Jacob had last Thursday told Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf that Dasuki was being detained by DSS in spite of the bail granted him by the judge because of his past in the military.
Jacob specifically told the court that Dasuki went on an exile for seven years and that during the period he allegedly breached the army service rules.
Meanwhile PRNigeria gathered that former military dictator, the late General Sani Abacha, held Dasuki in contempt and marked him down for persecution, when he (Dasuki) opened up his mind on the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election and that the winner of the election, late MKO Abiola be installed as President.
Dasuki was said to be among the officers who confronted Abacha and insisted that MKO Abiola be freed and allowed to become President over the June 12, 1993 President election. This led to the premature retirement of Dasuki and other officers in 1994.
The persecution that followed forced him into exile where he joined forces with other patriotic Nigerians to work for the return of democracy in Nigeria. Some top politicians in the current administration also fled into exile to sustain campaigns for the enthronement of democracy. Dasuki and others were declared wanted by the Abacha's police, PR Nigeria said.
However, in an official Gazette No 33 Volume 86, Dasuki was granted clemency and pardon along with others on March 4, 1999 by General Abdulsalam Abubakar, the then Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces for their innocence and meritorious service to their fatherland.