The Department of State Security Services (DSS) this afternoon finally bowed to pressure and produced Mr. Gordon Ebele Obua, former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan.
Obua, a serving officer of the DSS, was arrested by the Service last Thursday, July 16, and kept incommunicado without charges filed against him. His lawyers had raised an alarm over the inhuman conditions in which he was allegedly being held in solitary confinement, and this morning stories started making the rounds that he had died in detention.
This forced DSS management to produce Obua, who addressed the media inside the conference room of the Service headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking at occasion, the former CSO said: “I thank Nigerians and members of my family who have expressed very serious concern about my well being in the last six days.
“I want to use this medium to tell Nigerians and members of my family that I am hale and hearty. As a serving officer of DSS and having completed my duty tour with the last President, the Service felt that I should give a briefing of my stewardship.
“Nigerians should be assumed that DSS is a responsible organisation and I am sure that nothing adverse will happen to me once it is ascertained that I did nothing wrong.”
Three days ago, Onochie Onwuegbuna, the lead partner at Zeran Legal, had issued a press statement on behalf of Obua’s family, complaining about the conditions in which his client was being detained and alleged that his client was being witch-hunted by the Buhari government. He said his client was diabetic and hypertensive and was being denied his drugs as well as food and water by the DSS.
Obua refused to answer questions during the media briefing, saying: “I am a serving staff of DSS and I have limitations regarding speaking with the press. I thank the Director General of DSS for the way that I have been treated so far.”
•Photo shows Gordon Obua during this afternoon’s media briefing at the DSS Headquarters in Abuja.
By Ogundana Michael Rotimi
Government comes and government goes. Politician comes and politician goes. But public institutions remain with us. It is the more reason why we must strive to strengthen them and make them stronger than any individual. Painfully, rather for us to strengthen our institutions and make them strong, we build men. We build men that become stronger than our institutions and abuse them whenever they want to protect their interests and that of their loved ones. Corruption and weak institutions are parts of the challenges facing our nation today and are responsible for many of other challenges. No nation can strive where this duo exists. If Sambo Dasuki was not stronger than the Department of State Security Service (DSS), he would not have been able to resist its operatives for hours.
Who Is Sambo Dasuki
Sambo Mohammed Dasuki, is from a royal family in Sokoto. He is the son of the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmed Dasuki, who was deposed by the military regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha. SamboDasuki as he is popularly called is a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army and the former National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President of Nigeria. He was appointed NSA by the Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012, following the removal of General Owoye Andrew Azazi and was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 13, 2015.
Sambo Dasuki (then a Major) and military assistant to General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi participated in the military coup d’état that installed Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s Head of State.
Sambo Dasuki was also among the four (4) majors (Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, Lawan Gwadabe, and Abdulmumini Aminu)who arrested the Nigerian Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari in the 1985 palace coup led by Major General Ibrahim Babangida. Following the successful execution of the coup, He was made Aide-de-camp (ADC) to General Ibrahim Babangida.
Sambo Dasuki Standoff With The DSS
A fierce standoff occurred on the evening of Thursday through the early hours of Friday (16th & 17th July, 2015), between the operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd,), with the former NSA holed up in his home at 13, John Khadiya Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
The operatives of the DSS were supposed to conduct a simple search operation on three (3) of his properties. Two on; 13, John Khadya Street, and 46, Nelson Mandela Street, both at Asokoro, Abuja, and the third one on, 3, Sabon Birni Road, Gwiwa Area, Sokoto, Sokoto State. The search operations were planned to be simultaneously conducted, but he was reportedly to have refused the men of the DSS entry into his main residence located at 13, John Khadya Street, Asokoro, despite being presented with a genuine, legitimate and duly signed search warrant from a Magistrate Court.
There was no reason why he should have turned that down a search warrant! That was lawlessness. There was a court order but Dasuki disregarded it. It is a contempt court and should be treated as such accordingly.
Instead of him to honorably honor the search warrant and allow the operatives to do their job, he resisted them throughout Thursday evening using his military aides. Had the operatives of the DSS not shown professionalism in handling the impunity displayed by Dasuki and his men, it would have resulted in a bloody clash between the DSS and Dasuki`s military aides. And by now, the story would have been different.
If Dasuki could forcefully resist a search warrant, I wonder what he could have done if it was an arrest warrant?
Now goes the question; why was Dasuki still having military aides, not one, not two, but more, after he has been sacked? The last time I checked, he was no longer holding any public office that makes him deserve military aides. Logically, those aides should have been withdrawn the minute he was sacked. But you see, sometimes in Nigeria, logic seems scarce. That was why I was not surprised when I read he was with military aides. Like I won`t be surprised if I hear that a former Local Government Chairman has a military guard.
Items Seized From Dasuki`s Properties Search
Consequently, due to the lawlessness displayed by the former NSA and his military aides, a search that was scheduled to last for just about two (2) hours, lasted for more than ten (10) hours. From about 16:50 hours 16th July, 2015 they arrived at his premises in 13, John Khadiya Street, Asokoro, Abuja till the early hours of 17th July, 2015.
As a result of the search; the following items were seized according to the DSS: “Seven (7) high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and military related gears. The team also recovered twelve (12) new vehicles, out of which five (5) were bullet proofs. These vehicles which are all exotic vehicles were retrieved from SAMBO’s residence having failed to produce evidence of ownership”.
Is Sambo Dasuki Witch-Hunted?
The answer is No!
Some argue that Dasuki was sacked on Monday, by Wednesday a search warrant was already secured to search his house for illegal weapons and incriminating items and by Thursday his house was already besieged. Hence, he was just being witch-hunted. But I ask; witch-hunted for what? The DSS could not have risked wasting time on carry out such a sensitive operation knowing the magnitude of the intelligent report gathered. As there are said to be ‘credible intelligence’ linking him with “alleged plans to commit treasonable felony against the Nigerian state”. If there was nothing he was hiding he would have honorably honored the search warrant and allowed the DSS to do their job.
The refusal for Dasuki to immediately honor the search warrant confirms the intelligent report alleged against him to have some element of credibility.
So Why Was Sambo Dasuki not Arrested?
I know if Dasuki was an ordinary Nigerian and he resisted a search warrant, the story would have been different.He would have been arrested and detained for obstructing a legitimate process approved by a Magistrate court.
Meanwhile, Dasuki didn`t just resist a search warrant, he intentionally delayed, obstructed the DSS operatives in the course of performing their duties. Hence flouted the law and should have been arrested for that.
Secondly, Dasuki should have been arrested for harboring “Seven (7) high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons). What on earth does he need that for?
Additionally, he should have been arrested for initiating a standoff between his military guards and the operatives of the DSS.
The rule of law must prevail and no one should be seen to be greater or more powerful than the laws. Whatsoever, the law cannot tolerate from an ordinary Nigerian; it must not tolerate from any other class no matter his or her status.
This is why the continuous call to strengthen our institutions cannot be overemphasized; we must start by building values, structures, and processes. With these three elements in place, no individual will be placed above the law, government will function optimally, and accountability will be made easy.