ECOWAS Court of Justice has declared the detention of former National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, illegal and asked the Nigerian Government to pay him N15 million damages.
Justice Friday Nwoke, who delivered the unanimous judgment by the three-member jury, said the court had granted Dasuki leave to enforce his fundamental human rights as contained in the relevant treaties, which Nigeria signed.
Dasuki had filed a case before the court challenging his arrest and detention since December 2015 by the Nigerian government.
Dasuki prayed the ECOWAS court to issue an order compelling the Federal Government or its agents to immediately release him.
He also asked the court to order the government to release to him all his properties unlawfully confiscated during the invasion of his houses.
Dasuki also prayed that the government and its agents be restrained from further harassing, threatening, intimidating or infringing or interfering with his fundamental rights as guaranteed under relevant national and international laws on human rights.
Dasuki, apart from asking to be released to face charges in court, also demanded damages of N500 million from the government for its ‘’egregious violations’’ of his rights as guaranteed under the law.
Nwoke in an 87 minutes judgement in Abuja on Tuesday declared that the search on Dasuki’s house without a search warrant was unlawful.
The court also ruled that the former NSA’s continued detention without trial was unlawful since he had met the bail condition granted by the three courts before which he was arraigned.
It stated that such detention constituted violation of articles 9 and 12 of International Covenant of Civil and Political Right as well as articles 3, 5, 9, and 13 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The court stated that such also violated articles 5, 6, and 12 of African Charter on Human rights.
The court also held that the invasion and forceful seizure of Dasuki’s property in Kaduna and Sokoto without due process of law violated article 14 of African Chatter on Human and Peoples Rights
The court, therefore, ordered the Federal Government to release the applicant’s unlawfully seized properties and pay him N15 million as damages for his rights.
The court, however, declined to issue an injunction against the defendant, stressing that such would amount to interference in its right to prosecute and punish offences committed within its territorial jurisdiction.
It stated, however, that such action must be done in accordance with due process recognised by international rights.
The court also said that the applicant, like any other ECOWAS citizen, had the right to own and enjoy property without interference.
The Federal Government brought three different suits against Dasuki revolving around 2.1 billion dollars meant for military procurement.
Two of the suits were filed in the FCT High Court and the other in the Federal High Court.
In all the suits, Dasuki was granted bail one of which was on Dec. 21, 2015, when Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court granted him and two others, Bashiru Yuguda and Attahiru Bafarawa, bail.
His attempt on Dec. 29, 2015 to travel abroad for medical check-up was foiled when he was re-arrested by the government.