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Why DSS prevented Dasuki from travelling

Operatives of the Department of State Services laid siege to the Asokoro residence of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, (retd.) on Thursday, the PUNCH has reported.

The operatives, in two black operational vans of the secret police, were at the gate of the residence of the former NSA as of the time of filing this report.

Investigations revealed that the DSS operatives besieged Dasuki’s residence with the intent to prevent him from embarking on a planned trip to the UK for medical treatment.

It was gathered that Dasuki was billed to travel out of the country on Wednesday night through a Lufthansa flight, but had to call off the trip when it was discovered that DSS operatives were waiting for him at the airport.

He was said to have decided to postpone the journey to Thursday in order to avoid being embarrassed at the airport.

The source said that the former NSA was surprised when his residence was again besieged by operatives of the SSS on Thursday.

The source said, “The DSS are raiding the residence of the former NSA, Dasuki again.

“We really can’t say why they went there. They were with two of their operational vehicles painted in black and are parked outside.

“You know that the man was to travel to the UK via a Lufthansa flight on Wednesday night.

“The man had to call off the journey when it was realised that the DSS had gone to the airport to lay siege to him.

“Then, this morning, they went to the house. Nobody knows their intention for now.”

Later on Thursday, the DSS issued a statement where it explained that the agency prevented Dasuki from travelling abroad for medical treatment because he refused to appear before a committee set up by the Federal Government to investigate a N2bn arms transaction by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The service stated that Dasuki was invited to shed light on his involvement in the arms procurement processes, but had consistently refused to honour the committee’s invitation.

The DSS in a statement signed by one of its officials, Tony Opuiyo, accused the former NSA of grandstanding and blackmail.

The agency denied blocking Dasuki’s residence in violation of a subsisting court order granting him a relief to travel abroad for medical treatment, describing the allegation as “unfounded and malicious but aimed at tarnishing the good image of the DSS.”

The statement partly read, “It may be recalled that Dasuki 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 Dasuki and the service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on November 4, 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 $2bn 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 resort 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 a legal means to ensure his attendance.”

The service accused Dasuki of pulling all strings available to him to evade justice and put it in a bad light, stressing that it was not persecuting him.

It therefore enjoined Nigerians to disregard the impression being created by the former NSA, while reiterating its commitment to the rule of law and 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,” the DSS added.

The DSS operatives had raided the residence of the former NSA on July 19, 2015 and confiscated his international passport.

He was later arraigned in court for illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of local and foreign currencies.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, ordered the release of the passport to Dasuki, in a ruling on Tuesday in response to a motion filed by Dasuki’s legal team.