ECOWAS Court To Rule On Dasuki’s Case Against Nigerian Govt
The West African regional court is to deliver judgment on a suit filed by a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, against the Nigeria government.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice will rule on Mr. Dasuki’s petition that his rights had been violated by the Nigerian government.
Mr. Dasuki has been held by the government since December 2015, despite being granted bail by three courts.
Mr. Dasuki asked the ECOWAS Court to award him N500 million in damages for the alleged violation of his fundamental human rights.
Justice Friday Nwoke postponed the judgement originally scheduled for June 29 as judges went on vacation.
Proceedings in the case ended with the conclusion of oral evidence by two officials of the State Security Service, SSS.
Lawyers who represented the federal government, Williams Obiora and Alu Agbi, told the court that Mr. Dasuki was detained for his own protection.
Mr. Agbe said Mr. Dasuki’s release from detention would constitute a threat to national security.
They told the Court that considering that national security superseded individual security, the law permitted the SSS to restrict the movement of any citizen when his life was in danger.
They also argued that Mr. Dasuki was illegally in possession of firearms.
The lawyers cited section 3 of the Firearms Act, CAP F28 LFN 2004 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which prescribes arms that cannot be licensed to individuals.
The counsels also argued that the seizure of Mr. Dasuki’s property was allowed under the law under which the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established.
They dismissed the argument that Mr. Dasuki was granted bail by Nigerian courts of competent jurisdiction, saying there was no evidence to show he fulfilled the bail conditions for his release.
However, Mr. Dasuki’s lawyer, Robert Emukperuo, had urged the Court to disregard the defendant’s submissions on the grounds they were at variance with the documents filed.
Mr. Emukperuo asked the court to grant his client’s application, arguing that the submissions of the first witness alluded to safety and possibility of escape and not national security, contrary to one of the documents tendered by the defence.
He urged the Court to grant all the 13 reliefs sought by Mr. Dasuki, as there was no contestation he was in detention.
The Nigerian government, he said, had arraigned him before three different high courts on corruption charges, which granted him bail before he was rearrested on December 29, 2015 and has since remained in detention.
According to him, the critical issue needed to be addressed was to whether there was any legal basis for the detention other than the recourse to national security in the light of the sensitive arms or high caliber arms found in his house.