Sambo Dasuki during a court appearance in Abuja
The Federal Government on Wednesday, gave a reason why it did not immediately comply with the judgement of an ECOWAS Court to release a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Court on Tuesday gave a judgement directing the release of Dasuki.
On Wednesday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the government needs to study the content of the ruling before acting on it.
Salihu Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Malami, gave the government’s stance in a telephone interview on Wednesday morning. He said the government needs to fully understand the content of the court’s proceedings and judgement before reacting.
“We cannot just react. We will first of all study the judgement to understand it’s content before taking a stand,” he said.
The ECOWAS Court ordered the release of Dasuki on Tuesday, describing his arrest and continued detention as unlawful and arbitrary.
A three -member panel of the court, led by Justice Friday Nwoke said the search conducted at Dasuki’s residence without a warrant was illegal and against Nigerian laws.
Although the court said it would not go into the details of whether or not Dasuki’s alleged possession of arms were criminal, it added that an owner is entitled to enjoyment of its property.
The court said the manner of arrest and detention of Dasuki went contrary to article six of the African Charter on Human Rights and Article 9 (1) of the international order on civil and political rights.
“Liberty is the rule and detention is the exception,” said Mr. Nwoke, who added that the deprivation of Dasuki’s liberty should only be considered if he is convicted by a court of law.
The Court ordered the Federal Government to pay N15 million as damages to Dasuki.
With the stance of the chief law officer of the Nigerian government, Dasuki may still spend more time in jail.
DISOBEYING COURT ORDERS
The federal government had at three different times failed to obey court orders granting Dasuki bail in the past.
The former NSA; a former Minister for State of Finance, Bashir Yuguda; former Sokoto Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; and three others were granted bail on December 21 by the Federal Capital Territory High Court in the sum of N250 million each and two sureties in like sum. high-court-lagos
They were taken to the court on a 22-count charge for alleged diversion of funds, misappropriation and breach of trust to the tune of N19.4 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Despite fulfilling the conditions for his bail set by Justice Peter Affena, the State Security Service, SSS, refused to release Dasuki. Before that bail, the former NSA was granted bail on two other occasions.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court had on November 3 granted bail to Dasuki, who was charged for unlawful possession of firearms.
The SSS however scuttled the bail the following day as its operatives continued to lay siege on Dasuki’s residence in the Asokoro District of Abuja where he was kept under house arrest.
The service had claimed at the time that the former NSA was under investigation for another offence.
Dasuki was subsequently arraigned before an Abuja High Court for alleged breach of trust. Although the court granted him bail, the security outfit ignored it.
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