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Power play may yet keep Nigeria’s former strongman Dasuki in jail

Colonel Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was on Monday granted bail after being detained by the Nigerian government for over two years

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Colonel Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was on Monday granted bail after being detained by the Nigerian government for over two years.

It would not be the first time that the courts were doing so. Earlier decisions of the courts have been shunned by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which continues to insist that Dasuki remains a person of high risk to the security of the country.

The latest bail granted to Dasuki may yet go the way of others as the government had also slammed corruption charges on the former presidency strongman.

The Monday judgment was granted by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja. She granted bail to Dasuki in the sum of N200m with two sureties in like sum, and ruled that “the long and continued detention” of the applicant since December 29, 2015, could not be justified.

“The respondents have not successfully justified the long and continued detention of the defendant. Based on the circumstances of this case and the established facts, the honourable court is of the humble but firm opinion and as affirmed by superior authorities that the applicant (Dasuki) has made out a case to warrant the intervention of this court,” she said.

She added, “The 1st and 2nd respondents, (the DSS and its Director-General, Mr. Lawal Daura), cannot impose custodial punishment on the SAN) – to focus on prosecuting Dasuki based on the “fresh” case of money laundering they claimed to have against him instead of sticking to a “pyrrhic victory” of holding him in unlawful detention.

“What this court is saying, in essence, is that the respondents should focus on prosecuting the applicant and not on the pyrrhic victory of holding him in an unlawful detention.

“When it comes to the rule of law and the constitution, if the applicant is found culpable for the alleged offences, he should be visited with the full wrath of the law if he so deserves.
“The law remains that the burden of proving the illegality or the unconstitutionality of the fresh allegations is on the respondents,” she said.

Read Also: NIGERIA: Just how ‘sensible’ is it to share $300m looted fund to the poor?

Justice Ojukwu described the detention as “an aberration of the rule of law,” insisting that none of the reasons given by the respondents could serve as justification for the long detention.

She also debunked the allegation that Dasuki would constitute a threat to national security, arguing that the fresh money laundering case which the respondents claimed to have against him would not affect national security.

“It is clear that the applicant has been in detention under the custody of the 1st and 2nd defendants (DSS and its DG) since December 29, 2015.

“Since the applicant has been made to honour the said invitation, why is he still in custody of the 1st and 2nd respondents for about two and a half years?

“This query is also in view of the fact that the respondents have averred that they are not standing on the way of the applicant to actualise the bail granted him.

“The continued detention of the applicant by the respondents despite the bail granted to him by the courts in other matter is an aberration of the rule of law, “ Ojukwu averred.

The Monday judgment comes nearly two years after the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice in Abuja, in its own verdict delivered on October 4, 2016, ordered his unconditional release from illegal custody. The Nigerian government refused to honour the judgment.

“The continued detention of the applicant, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), by the operatives of the 1st respondent (DSS) under the instructions of the 2nd respondent (the DG) since December 29, 2015, till date without granting him an administrative bail is a violation of his fundamental right to liberty under section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,” the ECOWAS court ruled.

Politics

African leaders seek change in fight against terrorism at Nigerian summit   

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At a security summit in Nigeria, African leaders have called for a revamp of institutions that fight violent extremism on the continent.

The leaders also began to push to set up a standing military force and give the government more power over efforts to keep the peace.

Attacks on citizens and the military have been happening all the time in Africa, including in the Sahel, Somalia, and Mozambique, by groups with ties to Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo said that coastal states like Togo were facing more threats, even though people were being attacked the most in the Sahel.

“I say this with prudence and regret, but I think the institutions that have been in place for several decades are no longer able to respond to the security situation that we face,” said Gnassingbe.

Moussa Faki, chairman of the African Union Commission, reported that between 2017 and 2021, there were four attacks and 18 deaths a day in Africa. Last year, there were eight attacks and 44 deaths a day.

The AU chief added that last year 7,000 citizens and 4,000 military members were killed stressing that the situation was being used in some countries as a reason for military coups. The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, said that half of all terrorist deaths happened in the Sahel.

Until a military coup in July that called for France to leave, Niger was the West’s last major ally in the central Sahel area south of the Sahara Desert. In July, France pulled out 1,500 troops from Niger.

Faki said that Africa needed more money to help stop the spread of terrorism. Bola Tinubu, the president of Nigeria, said that more needed to be done to stop the spread of small guns and weapons. He also called for the creation of a regional standby force whose job it would be to fight terrorism.

“I am mindful of the funding, legal and logistical complexities that face the proper establishment of such a force. Such a force can stand as a strong deterrent to large scale and protracted terrorist operations and the capture, occupation or disruption of strategic land and resources,” Tinubu said.

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Togo’s civil society, opposition plan mass protests following constitutional review

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Some of Togo’s opposition parties and civil society groups have called for mass protests again on Saturday following lawmakers’ approved changes to the country’s constitution a week ago.

The legislation is widely believed to enhance the continued stay of President Faure Gnassingbe in power after 19-year rule. The opposition group Dynamique Pour la Majorité du Peuple (DMP) and other signatories said in a statement that the changes to presidential term limits and how presidents are chosen were just a political move to let Gnassingbe stay in office forever.

“What happened at the National Assembly yesterday is a coup d’etat,” they said in the statement that reiterated calls for the population to mobilise against the changes.

“Large-scale action will be organised over the next few days to say ‘no’ to this constitution,” they said. In Friday’s vote, lawmakers unanimously approved an amended charter under which the president will no longer be elected by universal suffrage, but by members of parliament.

The amendments also set up a parliamentary system of government and cut presidential terms from five years to four years, with a maximum of two terms. Since the changes don’t consider time already spent in office, Gnassingbe could stay in power until 2033 if he is re-elected in 2025. This is very likely because his party controls the parliament in Togo, where his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, took power in a coup in 1967.

The most valuable company in Abu Dhabi has made an offer of more than $1 billion to buy a 51% stake in Vedanta Resources’ copper assets in Zambia, according to two people who know about the situation.

In the past few years, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Congo Republic, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea are just a few of the African countries that have changed their constitutions and other laws to allow leaders to serve longer terms.

In the last three years, there have been eight military coups in West and Central Africa as well. As they were during his father’s long rule, violent police crackdowns on political protests have been common in Togo under Gnassingbe, who was returned in a landslide in 2020 that the opposition says was rigged.

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