UPDATED: SSS releases Dasuki after four years

Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, Nigeria
Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, Nigeria

The State Security Service has released Sambo Dasuki.

His lawyer, Raji Ahmed, told PREMIUM TIMES the former national security adviser was freed on Tuesday night.

Mr Dasuki’s freedom comes hours after the SSS released Omoyele Sowore, an activist who was arrested in August for organising a nationwide protest for good governance.

They were both released on the directive of Attorney-General Abubakar Malami, who prevailed on the SSS in a Tuesday morning statement to obey valid court orders and release them from illegal custody.

Mr Dasuki, a retired Nigerian Army colonel, was Nigeria’s national security adviser until May 2015. He was arrested a few months after leaving office on allegations of corruption and illegal arms possession.

He denied any wrongdoing.

Even though the Federal High Court in Abuja where he was arraigned granted him bail more than once, the SSS failed to release him.

Following government’s repeated failure to comply with court order releasing Mr Dasuki, the retired colonel declined further participation in his trial. His lawyers also withdrew in protest.

Mr Dasuki’s trial centred on allegations that he used funds earmarked for arms procurement against Boko Haram to support the then-ruling All Progressives Congress at the 2015 elections.

Several politicians of the former ruling party — now the country’s main opposition — were indicted by anti-corruption agencies in connection with Mr Dasuki’s alleged mismanagement. Many of them were asked to refund their share while some others, including Olisa Metuh and Femi Fani-Kayode, are still facing charges in court.

The politicians denied wrongdoing, saying they were paid to provide services during the election but did not know — or were supposed to know — the source of the funds.

During his four-year incarceration, Mr Dasuki, son of former Sultan of Sokoto Ibrahim Dasuki, said he was in good health — even though he missed his father’s burial in November 2016.

In an Interview with the Voice of America shortly after his release Tuesday night, Mr Dasuki said he was now ready to face trial since government has complied with the court order. He also said he held no grudges against President Muhammadu Buhari, attributing his ordeal to God’s wishes.

His release alongside Mr Sowore has been hailed as a win for democracy, having followed relentless agitation from local civic groups and other concerned individuals and organisations abroad.

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