Lagos - A former Nigerian presidential adviser accused of diverting $2.2 billion meant to buy weapons to fight Boko Haram on Friday challenged the government's right to put him on trial.
Retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, who was national security adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, asked the High Court on Friday to dismiss all charges against him because the government flouted court orders to release him on bail.
He said the charges cannot be lawfully prosecuted by a government in brazen disobedience of the court's order.
Dasuki has been detained for nearly two months despite three different courts granting him bail on stiff conditions. President Muhammadu Buhari said December 31 his government would not release Dasuki to allow him to jump bail. Buhari has blamed Dasuki for deaths, abductions of civilians and for making children orphans because soldiers were not adequately equipped to fight Boko Haram's Islamic extremist fighters.
Dasuki has said in a written statement that he diverted the money on Jonathan's orders, including more than $50 million in cash removed from the Central Bank at night to pay delegates to nominate Jonathan as his party's presidential candidate. Jonathan lost March 2015 elections to Buhari, who promised to curb massive corruption and halt the six-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed some 20 000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes.
The case was adjourned until February 4.
Buhari has been accused of running a witch hunt against officials of the former administration and of settling old scores against Dasuki, who was the army officer who arrested Buhari when he was overthrown in a 1980s palace coup after briefly serving as a military dictator.
The Nigerian leader last week ordered an investigation into serving and former top military officers over their roles in the purchase of military hardware.