USMAN: DSS, EFCC Didn’t Act Overzealously



Barrister Joel Usman is a legal practitioner based in Lokoja. In this interview with JOHN AKUBO, in Lokoja, he said due process was followed in the raiding of Dasuki’s home.

The recent travails of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and former CSO to immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, Gordon Obua; present a frightening picture of a regime that might have abandoned due process of investigating offences, to the embrace of a militaristic clamp down on suspects. What is your take on this?
The action of government in going against the two security personnel does not represent that position. I don’t think it is true. With regards to the National Security Adviser, the Department of State Security followed due process, by going to the court to obtain a search warrant with which they made the search, and after, they allegedly recovered incriminating materials.

This position would have been corrected if there was no search warrant, but I’m aware that the people that went to Dasuki’s house, went with a search warrant and found items that were allegedly incriminating. I don’t want to see it as if it does not follow due process or it was militarised act. Dasuki is a man of means, who ordinarily can enforce his rights, if he thinks they have been infringed upon and nothing stops him from doing that.

I think the authority that can tell us whether what they have done is right or not, or that due process was not followed is the court. It will not be fair at this point for us to start insinuating that due process was not followed in all that have been done. Concerning the former chief security officer to former President Jonathan, I think he is a staff of DSS, he was invited by his office to what can be referred to as board trial, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The Department of State Security has ways of interrogating and investigating their staff, which was followed. In his opened address on Tuesday, Obuah explained this that he is a staff of the State security and that they are going through a normal process. So. I do not see things from that point. In any case if there is a breach or an infringement on the rights of these people they can approach the court because it is only the court that can tell us whether due process was followed or not.

Why is it that the EFCC just found the groove?
EFCC has never been asleep; it is only in the high profile cases that they have been lying low. EFCC has been arresting, investigating, those who have been reasonably suspected to have committed financial crimes. Right from time if you go through the courts you will see that EFCC have not really been sleeping but if we are saying that in terms of high profile cases involving politicians they have not really been up and doing yes. But be that as it may, it is never too late to do the right thing.

Dont you think that effort at dealing with some of the high profile cases shows overzealousness?
The word overzealous is subjective, but I am aware that former Governor Sule Lamido left office on May 29, 2015 and for them to have arrested and arraigned him at this point, I don’t think that is an act of overzealousness. Murtala Nyako went on self exile and EFCC has been looking for him, he just presented himself not long ago and he was investigated properly and given the opportunity to say his own side of the story. Ikedi Ohakim, yes, the same thing, but just like I said, it is not yet too late to do the right thing but I do not see it as overzealousness.

Don’t forget it takes time to investigate cases and get to their roots. The fact that some of the EFCC cases are being thrown away is as a result of lack of proper investigation. That can be a reason for some of the delays in cases involving the politicians or high profile ones. EFCC has actually been arresting, investigating and arraigning suspects in court.

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