Before I go into the meat of this article, let me state this for the purpose of record. The case of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), will become one of Nigeria’s unsolved mysteries.
His trial will become a poltergeist of how power is exacted for submission and not for justice. It will become an inscrutable patch of history and of government’s confusion.
Dasuki has been on trial for two years. When the Buhari government took off, its first assignment was to probe the office of the NSA and the armed forces. After months of thudding investigations, the government released a report alleging that $2.1 billion was magicked from the treasury for bogus arms purchase by the office of the NSA.
The Department of State Services (DSS) whisked Dasuki into custody and filed a charge of illegal possession of firearms and money laundering against him at a federal high court in Abuja. This particular charge was filed in 2015. But the case is gasping for breath in court.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a multi-billion naira charge of financial fraud against the former NSA in 2016 at the Federal Capital Territory high court, but the case, like the other one, sputters like a jalopy in court. The DSS has refused to release him to face the trial.
It is really stupefying that the case is snarling up in court. I would have expected the government to act with dispatch since the former NSA is a suspect of importance. Oddly, it is the government, Dasuki’s “housemaster”, that is putting a wedge in his trial.
In addition, it is clear to me that the government is not really concerned about the enormity of Dasuki’s alleged offence, but about “keeping him out of circulation”. He may be guilty or innocent of the charges against him, but he is already doing time in a DSS cell.
However, I find it perplexing Dasuki’s claim of “memory loss” in the N400m trial of Olisa Metuh, former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This claim is absurd. It is simple, he either admits that he approved the release of the funds to Metuh or he confutes the former PDP spokesman’s claim that he did.
I think the former NSA may be trying to game the court by this stunt. Or is he so dazed by the amounts of money his office released that he cannot recall this particular transaction?
I had expected Dasuki to do some explaining of how funds for arms purchase allegedly ended up in the PDP campaign till. Nigerians deserve to know. It was a perfect opportunity for the former NSA, who has come under a blitz of accusations, to get his own side of the story into the public square.
I believe Nigerians were expecting fecundating disclosures from a man, who has been accused of gross financial malevolence, but has said little or nothing in his own defence. I hope he puts citizens out of this “misery” on Friday when he appears in court again.
In conclusion, government prosecutors and the court must pace up in bringing closure to trials linked to the $2.1 billion arms-purchase scandal. Nigerians deserve a denouement to this drama.
– Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist. He was the Abuja Bureau Chief of TheCable. Follow this writer on Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo