By Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (Rtd)
The decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the SGF Mr David Babachir Lawal and the DG NIA Mr. Ayodele Oke while they are being investigated is a welcome development in its war against corruption. It is also remarkable and commendable that the Govt. has decided not to detain the duo while they are being investigated.
This is a welcome departure from the prevailing anti democratic process by which accused persons, particularly from the opposition camp, are unlawfully detained pending the commencement of investigations, or refused bail granted by law courts.
There is national unanimity in support of the war against corruption which is expected to be non-discriminatory and waged by a meticulous adherence to the rule of law. For the war to be meaningful and sustainable, it must be elevated beyond a President Buhari personal struggle to a national one.
Most fair minded Nigerians are no more impressed and are indeed sceptical with the conduct of this government’s anti corruption war which appears to be aimed at the neutralization and destruction of the opposition.
It is over one year since three law courts, including ECOWAS Court granted bail to Col. M.S. Dasuki. The Federal Government has however refused to release him citing the untenable excuse of the grievous nature of his offence. Our extant constitution is quite clear on this issue. The Federal Govt. does not have the power to determine which offence is bailable or whether an accused person is deserving of bail. It should therefore obey courts’ decisions and release Col. Dasuki without any further delay. His unlawful detention, campaign of calumny and pretrial publicity make it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.
The only explanation one can find for Col. Dasuki’s lengthy detention without trial is that he belongs to the wrong camp. He has also the misfortune of having served as National Security Adviser to the much vilified Nigerian President of Ijaw extraction. Colonel Dasuki’s fate is tied to that of his former principal President Goodluck Jonathan; an honourable and patriotic Nigerian who conceded defeat and congratulated the winner of the 2015 Presidential election Gen Muhammadu Buhari even before INEC declared the final results, when he could have held on tenaciously to power as is the norm in many Third World Countries.
This rare act of statesmanship which pulled the country back from the precipice has been rewarded with utmost disrespect and derision by the APC Federal Govt. President Jonathan is the most maligned Nigerian former Head of State. Col. Dasuki is paying dearly for his loyal service to this patriot. All well-meaning Nigerians must speak out against his unfair and unlawful treatment. We cannot afford to remain neutral in the face of this monumental injustice. When one Nigerian is unlawfully detained all of us must have the moral consciousness to feel psychologically incarcerated.
Umar is Chairman of MUP