FORMER National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, whose arrest was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday over allegations of fictitious award of arms supply contracts, yesterday, countered the Federal Government. He alleged a deliberate campaign to rubbish him by the present administration.
President Buhari ordered Dasuki’s arrest after receiving an interim report of the panel set up on August 31 to probe arms procurement between 2007 and 2015, which allegedly indicted him and others.
Asserting that he is neither a thief nor treasury looter, Dasuki alleged that a number of prominent actors of the present administration were key participants in the purchase of arms, even as he stated his readiness for trial to prove his innocence.
The response from Dasuki was his second in as many days and followed the first rebuttal late Tuesday to the presidency’s statement ordering his arrest.
Meanwhile, to enforce the presidential directive, operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, have stepped up their presence in the residence of the embattled former National Security Adviser.
My story, by Dasuki
Dasuki in his statement denying the allegations against him said: “In a theatrical manner, the Presidency fed the public with many allegations against my person and yet-to-be-named former public officers.
“To draw sympathy, the presidency quoted some absurd findings including extra-budgetary interventions; award of fictitious contracts; 53 failed contracts; payment for jobs without contractual agreements; non-execution of contracts for the purchase of four (4) Alpha jets, bombs and ammunition.
“For undiscerning Nigerians, they may tend to assume that the allegations were true and pronounce the former National Security Adviser guilty as charged.
“The statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity (to the President), Mr. Femi Adesina, who should know better as a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and a witness to history, was nothing short of propaganda to cast aspersions on Dasuki.
“To set the records straight, Nigerians should appreciate that the AVM John Ode-led panel did not invite the ex-NSA under any guise before arriving at its ambiguous findings. At least, fairness demands that the panel ought to hear from Dasuki instead of its recourse to hasty conclusions. If the panel had been more patient and painstaking, it would have been availed of all relevant documents on some of the jaundiced findings.
“As if acting a script, the Presidency alleged that the panel accused Dasuki of awarding fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015. Contrary to this claim, Dasuki was not the NSA in March 2012 and he could not have awarded any contract in whatever name. The ex-NSA was appointed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012.
“All contracts and accruing payments were with the approval of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. Once the ex-President approved, the former NSA paid. So, there was due process for every purchase in line with regulations guiding arms procurement for the Armed Forces.
“And Nigerians should note that all the services generated the types of equipment needed, sourced for suppliers most times and after consideration by the Office of the NSA, the President will approve application for payment. For sensitive sectors (military/security), there was no room for awarding fictitious contracts. The conclusions of the panel were presumptive, baseless and lacked diligence.
“There were no fictitious contracts; contract sums were not diverted and the relevant services in writing acknowledged delivery of equipment. For all procurements, the Nigerian Army, the Air Force and the Nigerian Navy have their contractors.
“While awaiting judicial process on these allegations, it is proper to make some references to show that the presidency was just desperate to hang some former public and military officers who served this nation at the risk of their lives.
Delivery of purchased aircraft, arms, ammunition
“It is laughable for the panel to assume that 4 Alpha jets and 12 helicopters were undelivered. In a memo to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), referenced NAF/905/D/CAS of November 28, 2014, the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Adesola Amosu acknowledged the receipt of the 4x Alpha jets attack aircraft and the helicopters.
“On October 21, 2014, the Chief of Air Staff also confirmed the receipt of F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2,894,000 with the cost of freight at $1,200,000. The same Air Force confirmed getting 2xTri Shield 36DG Tactical radars.
“In another letter of December 1, 2014 signed by L.S. Alao (on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff), the Air Force said it received five containerized fuel storage and dispensing units with equipment.
“The Nigerian Army wrote the ONSA to acknowledge the delivery of 14 armoured tanks. In a December 13, 2014 memo, the Brigade of Guards thanked ONSA for releasing N30m for RCA, Operation allowance for Troops on Op Urban Sweep II for third and fourth quarters of 2014. This is apart from the installation of CCT Cameras at the Brigade Headquarters, 2 backscatter bomb detection vans and other equipment.
“On November 26, 2014, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh sought for approval of the award of one pair of uniform(in the interim) for the Armed Forces at N165, 375 to El-Jahab Mubarak Nigeria and N330,750,000 for two pairs.
“These are some of the acknowledgement letters submitted to me by the end-users (the services). It is not for me to go and find out whether the equipment were delivered or not. I am not the one keeping the inventories.
“To show that I have nothing to hide, I submitted a comprehensive list of all requests for procurements by the services, the items bought and those equipment being awaited to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari long before I left office. If there were issues, I should have been questioned. I was just the clearing house; I did not award contracts to my company or proxies. There was no contract awarded or equipment bought without approval from the then President and Commander-In-Chief. I am not a thief or treasury looter as being portrayed.
“In order not to endanger the nation’s security, there are many salient issues and contracts which I cannot put in public domain. I am ready for trial on all these allegations in order to prove to Nigerians that I did nothing untoward in office. We will certainly meet in court.
“I have a lot to tell Nigerians but in the interim, they should not believe some of the allegations as the gospel truths. The good thing is that some of the key actors in the present administration were parts of the past process being viciously challenged.
“As for my tenure as the nation’s NSA, I acted in the interest of the nation and with utmost fear of God. I did not use the office for any self-serving agenda. I occupied the Office of the National Security Adviser at a difficult moment in Nigerian history when terrorism was at its peak and I am leaving posterity to judge me accordingly”.
DSS closes in on Dasuki, increases presence in his home
Meanwhile, a visit to the ex-NSA’s house on 13 John Khadiya Street in the high scale Abuja neighbourhood last night, showed that the DSS had reinforced its presence since Tuesday evening.
Vanguard correspondent found out that no fewer than six DSS men had taken various positions around the neighborhood. But only an operational truck of the service was left by the side of the entrance to the massive compound while two service men sat there discussing.
A few metres away, another service truck with armed operatives parked by, observing movements in and around the area but they did not speak to anyone.
Three other vehicles with unknown persons inside, were also parked nearby but the occupants merely discussed among themselves.
It was not clear if Dasuki was in the expansive compound, sandwiched between the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge and the home of late ex-Bayelsa governor, DSP Alamieyeseigha.
Dasuki’s neighbours have been subjected to the sustained presence of the DSS officials in the past four weeks following the attempt by the service to arrest and prevent him from traveling abroad for medical attention.
The siege to his home has prevailed despite a subsisting court order directing that he be allowed to travel outside the country to get medical help.
The DSS claims that the matter for which he is being wanted has nothing to do with the court order and that he must appear and answer to allegations of mismanaging huge defence budget running into over N600 billion.
The panel, which probed the contracts said to have been awarded by Dasuki, turned in its findings on Tuesday, indicting him and others yet to be unveiled.