The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col (rtd) Sambo Dasuki, Friday raised alarm over what he saw as a plot by the State Security Service (SSS) to implicate him in some alleged security breaches.
He said Nigerians should know that the invasion of his house by the SSS was sheer witch-hunt and that it was sad that the operatives of the security agency broke into his ailing father’s house in Sokoto and broke into his safe.
Dasuki, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent on phone Friday, said he does not deserve such treatment because as the National Security Adviser he did not maltreat any Nigerian.
He said he was subjected to a 12-hour ordeal from 6pm on Thursday till 6am on Friday.
“The SSS operatives came in two trucks with a search warrant from a Magistrate Court. The warrant gave them the power to search for ‘illegal weapons and any incriminating item.’ You can imagine what that is supposed to mean.
“I left office on Tuesday and they got the warrant on Wednesday and executed it by 6pm on Thursday.
“From 6pm on Thursday, throughout the night till about 6am this morning (Friday), they were searching my house looking for incriminating items.
“They restricted my movement. I cannot go out and no one can visit me. All those who attempted to see me were stopped from doing so.
“In fact, my son was blocked from entering my residence. My two cooks, who used to come from their homes to prepare my meals, were also disallowed from leaving my house.
“The only person allowed was the man who feeds my dogs. And he only related with the dogs.
“By Friday morning, they packed away all the nine cars in my residence. I could not go out to perform the Eid-el-Fitr prayer because of the restriction. Even when I sought permission to go to Eid Praying Ground, they promised to provide a vehicle but they never did.”
Responding to a question, Dasuki said: “This is just a witch-hunt; they are desperately looking for something to implicate me.
“They went to my father’s house, including breaking into the ceiling to look for incriminating documents. They broke a safe in my father’s house.
“Also, my sister kept a 20-year old box in my father’s house, they also forced it open. What has my father got to do with this?
“And the old man is in hospital in London. He was shocked to hear that they broke into his house. The good thing is that they did not find anything.
“They brought the photocopy of a 2007 draft by my brother, Ahmed, and asked me to comment on it. Was I in office in 2007 as NSA? You can see the extent to which they are ready to go to implicate me,” he said.
The State Security operatives also seized his international passport and $40,000 cash found in his house.
They retrieved three rifles which were being used by members of the protective team while he was in office.
The disengagement of the Protective team was yet to be completed Friday but the SSS asked him to explain how he came about the rifles.
At about 6 pm, the SSS operatives were withdrawn from his residence.
Dasuki’s movement remains restricted to the country as his travel documents are now with the SSS.
According to findings, the SSS team obtained a statement from him from about 5pm till some minutes to 6pm.
A source said: “They seized the ex-NSA’s passport and raised issues on how he came about the $40,000 in his house. They went to the extent of asking him to give the details of how he came about the cash.
“On the rifles, they repeatedly questioned him on what he was doing with them. He took time to explain that they belong to members of the Protective Team guarding him. They became excited as if they had found evidence against him.
“I think by the time the case gets to court, Nigerians will know the truth or otherwise of their findings.
On the allegations against him, especially the ones bordering on purchase of arms, funds for counter-insurgency and the seized $15 million in South Africa, Dasuki said: “I read some of these allegations in The Nation but nobody has asked me some of these things they are saying. I was not even in charge of some of these things. How do I account for all?
“And if you want me to respond to these issues, you have to give me access to relevant documents. You do not need to restrict my movement. You can see that they are just out to set me up. Even if they find a knife in my house, they will say it is incriminating.
“There are some who should account 10 times for some of these allegations they are raising, but they are walking about freely,” he added.
Dasuki, who sounded confident on the phone, said as a retired senior military officer and ex-NSA, he ought to be better treated.
“Everybody should know what is happening. They sent some low-level officers, looking for something to implicate me.
“It is just a witch-hunt. If you want me to make clarifications on any issue, in the spirit of democracy and the rule of law, have the courtesy to invite me and as a gentleman, I will honour the invitation. Sending two trucks to lay siege on my house and restrict my movement is just abysmal.
“For a man who left office on Tuesday, where will I run to? I have nothing to fear.”
The former NSA said he was unfairly treated by the SSS because when he was in charge of the nation’s security, he was “cautious, careful and fair “in his approach.
He added: “I was fair to all as NSA. Even when I had security cause to act on some issues, inflammatory comments and actions against the government of the day by those in the opposition, I exercised restraint. I did not restrict anyone’s movement, I never asked security agents to occupy anybody’s house.
“But that is the new change we have, this is our own definition of democracy. All I know is that everything has a beginning and an end in a democracy. I gave my best for this transition, which led to the victory of the opposition over the ruling party.”