ECOWAS court orders immediate release of Dasuki, FG to pay N15m compensation

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The Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS, Court has ordered immediate release of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Muhammadu Sambo Dasuki (rtd) from detention, where he has been kept since December 2015.

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The regional court held that the detention of Dasuki violated both national and international laws on the right of persons and citizens to freedom of liberty.

In a judgement by the court and delivered by Justice Friday Chijioike Nwoke, the ECOWAS court imposed a fine of N15,000,000 against Nigeria as compensatory damages to the former National Security Adviser for the deprivation of his freedom to liberty and the deprivation of his properties.

In a judgment that lasted over one hour, the regional court dismissed the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes allegedly committed by Dasuki, adding that the Nigeria government missed the track because the applicant applied before the court for the enforcement of his breached rights and contravention of his fundamental right.

Justice Nwoke said that even if the applicant had committed a crime the law still has it that due process of the law must be observed in his trial, adding that it is an established fact that the applicant was put on trial in three different Nigeria High Courts and was granted bails by the courts.

The court said that the action of the Nigerian government in subjecting the Ex-NSA into continued detention is condemnable because criminality has not been established against him.

Justice Chijioke further said that the Nigerian government took laws into its hands and made mockery of the rule of law by arresting the applicant without warrant of arrest or warrant of detention when he had legally been granted bail by the appropriate courts.

According to the court, detention order must be made in writing and must be delivered to the detainees adding that in the case, none of such was obtained and delivered to Dasuki by the Federal Government before arresting and executing and forcefully took away property of the applicant in his houses in Abuja and Sokoto.

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The court also dismissed the claim of the Federal Government that Dasuki was arrested and detained in his own interest, adding that the claim was an assault to the Nigerian Constitution and other international laws because there was no iota of evidence placed before the court that applicant applied for security protection.

Beside, the ECOWAS Court said that the claim of the Nigerian Government that Dasuki was detained on his own interest was against the claim made by the same government that the applicant was arrested and detained because he constituted a security threat to the Nigerian nation and having also committed some economic crimes.

The court held that the claim that Dasuki was detained in his own interest was unreasonable and that Nigeria being under a democratic government where the rule of law is expected to be protected ought to act within the ambit of the law, since every nation is subject to the rule of law.

The Judge said: “Having perused the case before us, we have come to the conclusion that the re-arrest and detention of the applicant after he had been granted bail by three courts since last year make mockery of the rule of law. Executive arm should not interfere with the judiciary.

“Even if the applicant has committed crimes of whatever nature, the principle of innocence must be respected and the fact that he has been charged to court does not disentitled him to freedom of liberty… Court must rise to their responsibilities and prevent executive lawlessness.

“It is the applicant today; it could be anybody tomorrow. There is no legal basis for the re-arrest of the applicant other than to circumvent the bails granted by courts.

“We have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the purported search warrant claimed to have been obtained by the Nigerian government was an afterthought aimed at perverting the cost of justice because the so-called search warrant was not certified and to worsen the case the defendant claimed that it could not serve the same search warrant on the applicant.

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“For the avoidance of doubt, anybody who commit crimes must be put on trial before an appropriate court but in doing so, the state must respect local and international laws in the prosecution of such persons.”

The court therefore declared that the arrest, detention and the continued detention of Dasuki since December 2015 without warrant of arrest was unlawful, arbitrary and done in contravention of both local and international laws especially Article 5 and 6 of the African Charter on People’s and Persons’ Rights to freedom of Liberty.

The court also ordered that the invasion of Dasuki’s houses in Abuja and Sokoto and forceful removal of his personal property violated all the relevant laws, especially the Constitution of Nigeria under Section 37 and 44.

The court therefore ordered immediate release of Dasuki and payment of N15,000,000.00 as compensation to him for his unlawful arrest and detention.

Dasuki had in March 2015 dragged the Federal Government before the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice over his continued detention without trial since December 2015.

Dasuki who was rearrested by the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) shortly after perfecting the third bail conditions granted him by three Nigerian Courts asked the ECOWAS court to enforce his fundamental right as enshrined in the African Charter on the People and Human Right.

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In the legal action, the former NSA had asked the ECOWAS Court to declare as unlawful and unconstitutional and breach of his fundamental right his arrest since last year without a lawful court order.

The applicant had also prayed the court to declare action of government in keeping him in a dehumanising condition after the bails as unlawful and violation of his right to dignity of human person, privacy and family life guaranteed and protected right under Section 34 and 37 of the Nigerian Constitution and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right and Article 12 of the Universal of Human Right.

He had also asked the ECOWAS Court to declare the invasion of his privacy, home, and correspondence at his Abuja and Sokoto homes between July 16 and 17, 2015 during Ramadan Fast and forceful and unlawful seizures of his property without any lawful order or warrant of a court, constituted a gross violation of his fundamental right under Section 44 of the Nigerian Constitution and other relevant laws.

He had therefore prayed for an order for his release and that of the property taken during the invasion of his houses.

Apart from seeking for his release to adequately face charges against him in courts, Dasuki also demanded a compensatory damage of N500 million against the government for its egregious violations of his right as guaranteed under the law.

Reacting to the ruling, Mr. Wale Balogun, who stood for Dasuki in court, expressed optimism that the Federal Government being a major stakeholder and signatories to the protocol of the ECOWAS Court will obey and implement the orders issued by the regional court.

 

13 thoughts on “ECOWAS court orders immediate release of Dasuki, FG to pay N15m compensation

  1. It is the duty of the judiciary to curtail executive recklessness. The judiciary must be alive to its responsibilities, executive threats not withstanding.

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  2. It’s a welcome devlopment but the compensition awarded is poor.400m would have been okay to serve as a lesson to our military president and his overzealous DSS.

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  3. Let us pray for the birth of a reformer in the Nigeria Judiciary sector. Until we have incorruptible judges with high integrity, these political corrupt individuals will continue to use their power and connection to steer the country in a wrong direction.

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  4. What a shame! A criminal being awarded punitive damages. What of the thousands that lost their lives because of Dasuki? May God judge all responsible including the ECOWAS judge.

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  5. How many vulnerable people has been languishing in jail without any trial???????, So is only the rich people can get justice? this is the reason why we have many looters in order to be able to spend the money up to the ECOWAS court, and Rule of law means that everyone regardless of your status are equal before the law, but does this apply to all Nigerians??? NO! so please in whatever, you are dealing please stop using the word rule of law again.

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  6. In this Dasuki matter, it is the same thing all Nigerians want. We want him to be PROSECUTED AND JAILED if found guilty. Some of you just don't know what RULE OF LAW means. If not that this administration is more clueless than GEJ, how can you not be able to convict someone that shared money when you claim to have caught all those that received the money? Can't you ask Lai Mohammed why his so called no nonsense president cannot prosecute Dasuki with all the evidence they claim to have? Dasuki is a Sokoto prince, I can't remember who Buhari's father was. All those things matter in the North. Just like GEJ couldn't do anything to Sanusi who eventually became Emir, Buhari cannot (I mean, cannot) do anything to a Sokoto prince.

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  7. ECOWAS my foot. Where was ECOWAS when this criminal was busy sharing Nigeria treasury to like mind criminals. This is Nigerian business and this s****d judgement is laughable, period

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  8. Dansuki is not detained because of the money but as a revenge of the lingering issues between him and Buhari. If it is for the money, EFCC would charged him to court before now. Besides, Buhari and his government feel very unsafe with Dansuki walking free outside. I can bet you that there is a very thick secret between the two that Nigerians don't know. E be like say Dansuki hold or chop Buhari something before because this pass ordinary.

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