Former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, who is on trial for alleged mismanagement of $2.1billion arms funds, would like former President Goodluck Jonathan to be his witness, it was learnt yesterday.
Mr. Jonathan has faulted the charges against Dasuki, claiming that the ex-NSA could not have stolen about $2.2 billion for arms. “We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army,” he said in a recent interview at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom.
Speaking with our correspondent, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), the ex-NSA’s counsel, said Dasuki wanted Jonathan to testify in court.
Raji said: “It will be desirable for Jonathan to testify for the ex-NSA. It will throw greater light into grey areas. And it will serve the interest of Justice.
“It will be fantastic for him to go to court to testify. Dasuki is an agent of a disclosed and known principal.”
Another member of the legal team said: “With what Jonathan said in London, the only logical thing for him to do is to see it through.
“We want Jonathan to follow-through. If he backs out, it will be bad.”
But, in Raji’s view, a political solution will be better than trial because of the “characters involved”.
He said: “But, frankly speaking, I pray for a political solution to the problem because of the characters involved.
“Both the accused and the government should embrace a political solution to the problem.”
Asked if Dasuki is ready for political solution, he added: “Why not? He is.
”I believe the President is very sincere. He wants to reorganise Nigeria and he deserves the support of all.
“With a political solution, Mr. President will be in good stead to overcome unnecessary distractions in order to succeed.
“I pray that everybody will key into his vision and the economic challenges facing the nation.”
Those point of advising a political solution is that it will not be “tidy” for Dasuki to mention all those who got money from his office. Among them, said a source, are a prominent traditional ruler in the North, who reportedly got N500 million and a former Head of State.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said Dasuki’s defence team was banking on Jonathan’s testimony.
The source said: “All is set for the defence of Dasuki, who is still insisting on an open trial to let Nigerians know the beneficiaries of the arms cash.
“One of those who may testify is ex-President Goodluck Jonathan whose remarks in London appeared to be the first phase of the war chest of the ex-NSA.
“You know the ex-NSA said he acted on Jonathan’s instructions in disbursing some of the cash. And from the look of things, the ex-President is now ready to accept responsibility for whatever Dasuki did.
“We believe it has reached a level that Nigerians must know what really happened, how funds were disbursed and who got what.
“This is why a secret trial is not a viable option, with the way things are going.”
The source added: “So far, we have secured the consent of Jonathan to appear in court for Dasuki. This will make the trial worth it.”
It was learnt that a traditional ruler allegedly benefitted from the arms funds to the tune of about N500million.
Another source added: “Dasuki has a list of highly-placed beneficiaries from the arms cash. A particular traditional ruler got about N500million as a gift from the government through the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA). There are many hidden beneficiaries whom Nigerians must know.
“Nigerians will be shocked by some revelations which will come up during the trial. Nothing short of open trial will let Nigerians know the truth. We are ready for this.”
Dasuki had on December 13, 2015 said he disbursed the funds on Jonathan’s instructions.
The ex-NSA said: “I wish to state as follows: That I have been publicly indicted and any statement may jeopardise my defence. Having been briefed by the EFCC investigators on why I was invited, I will answer the charges in court. As such, I do not wish to make any further statement on the matter.
“That I am aware in November (I cannot remember the exact date), my office requested the CBN to exchange N10billion from the account of the Office of National Security Adviser domiciled in CBN. The money was exchanged at $47m and some Euros which I cannot remember. The exact amount was delivered at my residence.
“The money was for delegates that attended the nomination convention for the PDP. Presidential nomination. The money was paid and sent to Hon. (Waripamowei) Dudafa (SSAP Household) and ADC(C-I-C) for distribution on the instruction of the President.
“Based on the statement of Director of Finance and Administration (Salisu), Ibrahim Wambai, and Yazidu Ibrahim, all the cash (both foreign and local) are usually given to them for official use.
“I also noted the statement of Sagir Bafarawa whose company is Dalhatu Investment in which he stated that he received the sum of N4,633,000,000 from the account of the Office of the NSA. I authorised the payment . The money was for vehicles, motorcycles for youth empowerment and women sent to Saudi Arabia. I got the proposal from the President. I do not have the proposal; it should be at the office in the Villa.”