Reminiscences: I was not among those that arrested Buhari in 1985—Dasuki

Dasuki Sambo

  • Gives reasons why he didn’t flee after his indictment

A former National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr. Sambo Dasuki, has refuted the claim that he was one of the military officers that arrested President Muhammadu Buhari in August 1985 when Buhari was removed as military head of state.

Dasuki who made the disclosure in a book – An encounter with the Spymaster, written by Mallam Yushau Shuaib, also said he could have absconded after he was implicated in a $2.1 billion arms procurement deals but that he did not want to be a fugitive any longer.

He said there were pressures on him to abscond but that he refused to yield.

The ex-NSA said in the book: “I can never be a fugitive after past Abacha’s attempt on my life in the 1990s. I will remain in Nigeria and face any consequences.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in January this year re-arraigned Dasuki and five others before the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama.

The other accused persons are a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, and his son, Sagir; a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu;  a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda as well as Sagir’s firm,  Dalhatu Investment.

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They were re-arraigned before Justice Baba Yusuf on 22 counts involving alleged diversion of N13 billion meant for purchase of arms.

They were accused of criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen property and misappropriation of funds.

The trial of Dasuki and others has been on and off in the last two years.

Giving fresh insight into why the 2015 general election was postponed, the book stated: “It should be stated here that during the critical period of the war on terror, the Western powers deliberately refused to sell the required weapons and armaments to Nigeria to prosecute the war on flimsy excuses of human rights abuses.

“When they embargoed the supply, the then government had to resort to Eastern Block for required arms and ammunition.

“Though the arrival of the equipment was late, which necessitated the postponement of the 2015 election, the subsequent operations were successful.”

In the book, Dasuki recalled how his path had crossed with the President in the military and politics.

The ex-NSA explained how Buhari was informed about the 1983 Coup d’état which led to the sack of the

He said he and two young military officers (still alive) “travelled to Jos to brief Maj-Gen. Buhari, who was then the GOC of the 3rd Armoured Division, on the furtherance of the planning of 1983 coup which made Buhari the major beneficiary of the ouster of the elected President Shehu Shagari.”

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Asked why he participated in the coup d’état against Buhari in 1985, less than two years after the coup that brough him in, Dasuki said: “Gen. Buhari should know whom he should blame.”

But he denied being among the officers that arrested Buhari as a military Head of State in the August 1985 putsch.

He added: “I always respect and dignify my seniors and those in positions of authority, whether in service or after.

“Though a young officer, I was reluctant to be among those that arrested him (Buhari). And I was not. I only met him afterwards at Bonny Camp with Lawal Rafindadi.

“There is no way I could have maltreated him as being alleged in some quarters. I am glad most of the actors are still alive.”

The detained former NSA dismissed having grudges with Buhari under any guise.

The book said: “Dasuki narrated how he supported the campaign aspiration of Muhammadu Buhari for presidential elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

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“He mentioned the names of individuals who were also privy to his active involvement including respected Northern elements like Adamu Adamu (Minister of Education); Bashir Kurfi; Wada Maida (Buhari’s former Chief Press Secretary), Sule Hamman and Kabir Yusuf, among others.

“He disclosed how he pleaded with Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu in the presence of Chief Bisi Akande to accept Muhammadu Buhari as the joint presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011.

“Dasuki said he knelt down begging ‘Baba Bisi Akande’, who was then the chairman of CAN that, “Gen. Buhari is a man to be trusted.”

He said he was prematurely retired from the Army because “he and some others confronted a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, over the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was won by the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO).”

He said the persecution that followed his retirement forced him into exile where he “teamed up with opposition elements struggling for the return of democracy in Nigeria.”