Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, who was national security adviser to former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, was charged with weapons offenses on Tuesday at a court in the capital, Abuja.
Dasuki pleaded not guilty to charges including unlawful possession of several assault rifles and ammunition, Director of Public Prosecutions Mohammed Saidu Diri said by phone.
Presiding Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the federal high court granted Dasuki bail on self-recognition and set the next hearing for Oct. 26-27. If convicted, Dasuki may face 10 years in prison, according to Nigeria’s firearms law.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated Jonathan in March elections, has vowed to wage a war against corruption in Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country of about 180 million people.
Dasuki’s office was allegedly at the center of two failed arms-procurement deals last year when South African authorities seized suitcases packed with almost $10 million in cash at an airport in Johannesburg.
“From the inception of the new government, it stated clearly that nobody will be too big to be prosecuted for offenses and corruption and that is exactly what is happening,” Bawa Abdullahi Wase, an Abuja-based analyst at the Network for Justice, said by phone.
Dasuki played a central role in Jonathan’s military campaign against the Boko Haram militant group and he directed that elections be delayed by six weeks this year to give the army time to ensure voter safety. A retired U.S.-trained colonel, Dasuki was appointed security adviser in June 2012.