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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

Sierra Leone imprisons 11 military, police officers over coup attempt

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Sierra Leone’s high court has sentenced 11 soldiers and police officers to hefty prison terms for their alleged roles in an attempted military coup last year.

On November 26, gunmen in Sierra Leone freed 2,200 detainees and killed over 20 in military barracks, a jail, and other locations.

After the coup attempt failed, 12 individuals were charged with treason in January. On Monday night, a unanimous jury found 11 guilty of 20 counts, including treason, murder, and military uniform use.

Due to health difficulties, the APC’s Bai Mahmoud Bangura, the twelfth accused, is being tried separately.

Amadu Koita Makalo, a retired army major and former bodyguard of ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma, received consecutive 40-70-year sentences for multiple counts.

Two female police officers were sentenced. Ramatu Kamanda Conteh received 30 years of harbouring Koita.

The government attributed the coup attempt to Koroma’s bodyguards, who were ultimately charged with four offences. However, the government let him leave the country on medical grounds.

Ex-president, Ernest Bai Koroma was accused of participating in a botched military coup attempt in November, and on January 3, was charged with four offences. However, a high court decided on Wednesday that Koroma was free to leave the nation.

His lawyers labelled the coup attempt “trumped up” and a “political vendetta” while Koroma condemned it.

Two decades after a 1991-2002 civil conflict that killed over 50,000 Sierra Leoneans, tensions have risen again.

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Politics

Tanzania’s president fires foreign, information ministers

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Tanzania’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has announced the sack of two top officials, including the foreign minister, in a mini-cabinet reshuffle.

Hassan took steps to rebuild international trust in his economic and political reforms, including relaxing restrictions on opposition parties and media, which had been criticized for failing.

The presidency stated late Sunday that Hassan fired January Makamba, minister of foreign affairs and East Africa cooperation, and Nape Nnauye, minister of information, communication, and IT.

They are influential in Chama cha Mapinduzi, the ruling party.

No explanation was offered for their removal. Makamba and Nnauye responded slowly to calls for comment.

Nnauye was fired a week after a video showed him suggesting election results depended on who counts ballots and announces them.

Nnauye later apologized, saying it was a joke, but activists and social media users argued it harmed Hassan’s democracy efforts.

Muhammad Thabit Kombo became the foreign affairs minister and Jerry Silaa information, communication, and IT minister under Hassan.

While Silaa was minister of lands, housing, and human settlements development, Kombo was Tanzania’s ambassador to Italy. Two more ministers and deputy ministers were appointed, the presidency stated.

Since 2021, Hassan’s government has been lauded for rolling back her predecessor’s opposition and civil rights crackdowns. The arrests of a lawyer and an opposition leader last year have cast doubt on her government’s human rights record.

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