ECOWAS court defend ex-NSA on unlawful detention suit
Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser has defeated the Federal Government at the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) court in the first leg of his suit, where he challenged his accused unlawful arrest and detention since December 2015.
Justice Friday Chijoke Nwoke, in his ruling on Monday, April 11, 2016 dismissed the government’s protest saying that it had power to condone Dasuki’s suit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty and to own property as regulated in the Nigerian 1999 constitution and African Charter on fundamental rights of persons.
The judge strongly ruled against the Nigerian government on the grounds that the objection was inappropriate, frivolous and lacked merit, he further debunked the claims made by the Nigerian government stating that it has no place in the law to take action against Dasuki because there was no proven file concerning a related case in any international court.
In an unanimous ruling by a three-member panel of the court which was delivered by Justice Nwoke, it was upheld that the government’s claim concerning Dasuki’s case came from his trial on certain offences and were deemed as inappropriate since the ease sought by Dasuki was not related to his ongoing trial at the domestic courts of Nigeria.
Speaking, the court declared and nullified the government’s claim of Dasuki filing contempt charge against the Nigerian government for disobeying court orders cannot be sustained because the case of the applicant is not confusing, in that it has no root from any criminal trial in any court.
Justice Nwoke who emphasized on his judgment said, “In our opinion, what Dasuki brought before us as a case is an issue for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty and own property and against unlawful arrest, unlawful detention and unlawful seizure of property without any court order or warrant of arrest.
“From the totality of the issues brought before this court, it is clear and there is no ambiguity that the applicant is seeking enforcement of his right to freedom and not on the issue of his trial for any alleged offence before any Nigerian court.
“Therefore, the objection of the government and the request that the case of the applicant in this matter be struck out on the ground of emanating from any criminal matter has no basis, the claims and the request lack merit and hereby dismissed and we declare that the application of Dasuki is admissible to this court.”
The court notified that it is not its position to conclude if the applicant is guilty of the charges made against him in the Nigerian courts or not, but to ascertain whether his continued detention, despite being granted bail in criminal matters, constitute an abuse of his rights to freedom.
Dasuki’s counsels, Robert Emukpoeruo and Wale Balogun had sued Nigerian government to ECOWAS court over the invasion of their client’s homes in Abuja, Kaduna, Sokoto and seizure of his property without any court direction.
They also complained about Dasuki’s alleged unlawful detention and asked the ECOWAS court to award N500million as compensatory damages as it will favor him since he could not be treated abroad medically because of the instruction given by a Nigerian court.