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Dasuki ECOWAS court backs ex-NSA on unlawful detention suit

Dasuki won in the first leg of his suit, where he challenged his alleged unlawful arrest and detention since December 2015.

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The embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has defeated the Federal Government at the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) court.

Dasuki won in the first leg of his suit, where he challenged his alleged unlawful arrest and detention since December 2015.

In his ruling on Monday, April 11, in Abuja, Justice Friday Chijoke Nwoke, dismissed the government's objection that it had jurisdiction to entertain Dasuki’s suit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty and to own property as contained in the Nigerian 1999 constitution and African Charter on fundamental rights of persons.

The judge ruled against the Nigerian government on the ground that the objection was misconceived, frivolous and lacked merit.

In the unanimous ruling by a three-member panel of the court delivered by Justice Nwoke, it was held that the government's claim Dasuki’s case emanated from his trial on certain offences was inappropriate since the reliefs sought by Dasuki had nothing to do with his ongoing trial at the domestic courts of Nigeria.

Continuing, the court said government's claim that Dasuki ought to have filed contempt charge against the Nigerian government for disobeying court orders cannot be sustained because the case of the applicant is not ambiguous, in that it has no root from any criminal trial in any court.

Justice Nwoke said the claim by the Nigerian government has no place in the law because there was no evidence that Dasuki had filed similar matter in any international court.

“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 properties 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 ruling held.

READ: Dasuki re-arrested by DSS after release from Kuje Prison

The court clarified that it is not in its place to decide whether the applicant is guilty of the charges 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 dragged the Nigerian government to the ECOWAS court over the invasion of their client's homes in Abuja, Kaduna and Sokoto and seizure of his properties without any court order.

They also complained about Dasuki's alleged unlawful detention and asked the ECOWAS court to award N500million compensatory damages in his favour having been denied access to medical attention abroad as ordered by a Nigerian court.

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