From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A civil society organisation, the Citizens Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), has demanded the immediate release of detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) by the Federal Government.
Director of mobilisation for the group, Ewache Ajefu, who made the demand at a media briefing, in Abuja, on Thursday, regretted that Dasuki remained the only public officer in the custody of government even after he had been granted bail by four High Courts in the corruption changes brought against him by the federal government.
The group specifically pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari as the Head of the Democratic government to intervene in the unlawful detention saga by ordering the release of the detainee.
Ajefu lamented that the detention of Dasuki was worrisome and disturbing not only to the Nigerian people but the international community because there is no single court order or warrant of arrest to justify the action of government against the former NSA who has been in the custody since December 29, 2015.
Besides, the group also called on well meaning Nigerians to prevail on government to allow the rule of law flow in the trial of the ex NSA in the interest of justice.
“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 arrested and detained on the orders of the Federal Government.
“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, 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.
“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.
“We recall 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.
P 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 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”, he said.