•Recovers five bullet proof vehicles, seven high caliber rifles during search
•Magazines, military related gears also seized
‘These cars which from all available evidence were purchased with tax payers’ money, were being kept for possible sinister enterprise.’
The 24 hour siege on the Abuja residence of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA),Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) by the Department of State Security (DSS) was to prevent “attempts to commit treasonable felony,” the agency said last night.
Operatives of the DSS on Thursday stormed three properties of the former NSA and his father located at Nos. 13, John Khadiya Street, 46, Nelson Mandela Street, both at Asokoro, Abuja, and No. 3 Sabon Birni Road, Gwiwa Area, Sokoto, Sokoto State, armed with a warrant to search them.
The siege was lifted on Friday evening with Col. Dasuki accusing the agency of witch hunting him and trying to implicate him for alleged security breach.
But responding through a three page statement, the DSS blamed the ex-NSA for unduly prolonging the search that should not have taken more than two hours.
It said: “On 16th July, 2015, about 1650 hours, based on credible intelligence linking the immediate past NSA, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Col rtd) with alleged plans to commit treasonable felony against the Nigerian State, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) conducted a search on the properties belonging to the former NSA, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Col rtd). The properties are on Nos. 13, John Khadiya Street, Nos. 46, Nelson Mandela Street, both at Asokoro, Abuja, and Nos. 3 Sabon Birni Road, Gwiwa Area, Sokoto, Sokoto State.
“The search operations were planned to be simultaneously conducted, but Dasuki, refused the operatives entry into his main residence located at No. 13 John Khadiya Street, Asokoro, despite being presented with a genuine and duly signed search warrant.
“Consequently, what was to last not more than two hours, lasted more than 10 hours, up till the early hours of 17th July, 2015. Indeed if not for the sense of maturity and professionalism of the officers and men assigned this task and the very good understanding and timely intervention of the new Chief of Army Staff, Tsukur Y. Buratai (Maj Gen), there would have been a clash between the army operatives guarding the house and Service operatives, as Sambo directed the soldiers on duty not to allow any movement into his house, despite the subsisting court order. SAMBO thereafter raised a false alarm to the military authorities to come to his aid as he failed to correctly tell the military that his property was about to be legitimately searched.
“Please, recall that Sambo retired from the Army as a Colonel, and is therefore not entitled to have military guards, if not for the fact he was NSA. Even as NSA, such guards should have been withdrawn after his removal as NSA since he would not have been entitled.
“The search was thoroughly conducted, and several items recovered, among which were some incriminating items. These include seven high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and military related gears.
“The team also recovered 12 new vehicles, out of which five were bullet proofs. These vehicles which are all exotic vehicles were retrieved from Sambo’s residence having failed to produce evidence of ownership. For instance, what could he be doing with five bullet proof cars as a retired NSA? These cars which from all available evidence were purchased with tax payers’ money, were being kept for possible sinister enterprise.
“The Service would want to state categorically that this search operation is not a witch hunt. The Service decided to move at this time in line with current Management resolve to be proactive and pre-empt individuals with penchant for impunity and lawlessness from putting back the nation to the dark days. “The Service is also aware that the lethal arms and the vehicles recovered were not reflected in Sambo’s handover notes or what could a former NSA be doing with destructive weapons and bullet proof cars which put together could disrupt the peace of any city in Nigeria for a while.
“On the search of his three properties, including the Sokoto residence, the Service is aware that in his capacity and given his antecedents, he might decide to use any of his residences for such diabolical plans, rather than his main residence.
“The Service Management would want to assure members of the public that it would not trample on the freedom of individuals or groups as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and emphasized by the current administration’s position on transparency, and probity underlined by justice and equity for all Nigerians.
“This is the driving force for all DSS operations. However, the Service would not hesitate to go after any person or group of persons, no matter how highly placed once such individual (s) breach or attempt to breach the laws of the Federation. The days of impunity and indecisiveness in the face of unpatriotic acts by individuals operating against the State are over.
“The Service hereby appeals to all Nigerians to be law abiding and partner with it in ensuring a peaceful and secured nation. In the same vein, those that are bent on breaking the rules governing our peaceful co-existence due to either the huge ill gotten wealth they have acquired or imaginary hold they think they have on our nation’s survival, are being warned to rethink. The DSS will use all constitutional means as defined by its mandate to deal decisively with such unpatriotic individuals.”
The statement was signed by Tony Opuiyo.
The DSS has already barred Dasuki from travelling out of the country having impounded his passport during the siege.
Dasuki told The Nation on Friday by phone that the state was merely witch-hunting him.
“They are desperately looking for something to implicate me,” he said. They went to my father’s house, 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.
On the allegations that the house arrest might not be unconnected with the $15million cash for arms seized by 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.”