Nigeria's ex-security chief charged with weapons offences

Former Nigerian national security advisor Sambo Dasuki was arraigned on a "one-count charge of being in possession of firearms without licence," Prosecutor Mohammed Diri told the federal high court in Abuja (AFP Photo/-)

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria's domestic intelligence agency said on Monday it had charged the country's former national security adviser with unlawful possession of firearms after raiding several of his properties.

The Department of State Security (DSS) reported in July that its agents had found numerous weapons in simultaneous raids on three of Mohammed Sambo Dasuki's properties in his northern home state of Sokoto and the capital Abuja.

The raids were based on "credible intelligence" linking Dasuki -- who lost his job when President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the military top brass shortly after coming to power -- to "acts capable of undermining national security", the DSS said in an update on the case on Monday.

He has been "charged to court based on evidence so far obtained, but which relates to possession of firearms without licence," the statement said.

"This is in line with democratic practice and our avowed commitment to the rule of law, in which nobody is deemed to be above the law no matter how highly placed in the society," the DSS added.

Incriminating items recovered during the raids, which lasted more than 10 hours, included seven high-calibre rifles, several magazines and military-related gear, the agency said at the time.

Dasuki, 60, was unable to produce evidence of ownership of 12 new high-performance vehicles, five of which were bullet-proof, found on his premises, the DSS added.

Buhari's purge of top military commanders inherited from his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan was widely expected as the new president, who took office in May, aims at overhauling a military that struggled to take on the Boko Haram insurgency throughout 2014.

Buhari, who took office on May 29, had promised not to take action against officials who served under Jonathan, and the DSS has denied the raids were part of a witch-hunt.

Dasuki, who was an army major in 1985, was reported to be among the team of soldiers who arrested Buhari after he was overthrown as Nigeria's military ruler in August that year.

He had served as national security adviser from June 2012 until his sacking in July.