The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied that it illegally blocked the residence of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, in defiance of a court order which granted him permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.
A statement signed by Tony Opuiyo on behalf of the DSS stated that the seeming standoff between Sambo and the Service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on 4th November, 2015, is “his refusal to appear before a committee undertaking the investigation of an entirely different case.”
The statement said the invitation was not in connection with the old case of arms running and money laundering for which Dasuki is standing trial before Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Dasuki however denies any invitation to appear before the committee.
The DSS statement reads: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been brought to the report making rounds that its operatives illegally blocked the residence of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo DASUKI (Col/Rtd), in violation of a subsisting court order granting him a relief to travel overseas for medical services. This is to say the least that such report is not only unfounded and malicious but aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Service.
“It may be recalled that SAMBO was initially arrested and charged to court for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering, for which reason his international passport was seized and on the order of the court, returned to the registrar for custody. What has however brought the seeming standoff between SAMBO and the Service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on 4th November, 2015, is his refusal to appear before a Committee undertaking the investigation of an entirely different case.
“The public may wish to note that the government set up the Committee to investigate procurement processes relating to a two billion dollar ($2billion) arms transaction by the last administration, under which SAMBO was the NSA. It was on this premise that he was invited by the Committee to shed more light on his involvement in the deal. It, therefore, remains surprising and shocking that SAMBO has refused to honour invitations of the Committee but instead resorts to grandstanding and subtle blackmail of the Service. His refusal to appear before the Committee has left the Service with no option than to adopt legal means to ensure his attendance.
“Therefore, without doubt, SAMBO is pulling all strings available to him to evade justice and put the Service in bad light. The simple fact is that the DSS is not persecuting him. Nigerians are therefore enjoined to disregard the impression being created by him. This Service wishes to re-emphasise its commitment to the rule of law and strict adherence to democratic ideals. However, any person or group, no matter how highly placed, that may wish to test the will of the present democratic dispensation, will definitely be checked through the legal provisions of the law.”
Dasuki denies ever receiving any invitation letter to appear before a committee set up by the government to investigate procurement processes relating to any arms transaction by the last administration, under which he served.
Responding to the statement by DSS, who laid siege on his residence on the day he was supposed to travel abroad for medical treatment, Dasuki said it was strange that a committee purported to be operating from the Office of the National Security Adviser could have transferred its mandates to DSS.
Dasuki was first arrested by the SSS in July after a prolonged siege on his Abuja residence. He was charged to court with illegal possession of arms and money laundering.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court last Tuesday granted Mr. Dasuki’s request for his passport to be released, to enable him receive treatment abroad.
His attempt to travel on Wednesday and Thursday for the medical treatment was thwarted by DSS operatives.