Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, on Monday triumphed over the Nigerioa Federal Government at the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) court, in the first leg of his court action challenging his alleged unlawful arrest and detention by the FG since December last year.
In the ruling delivered by Justice Friday Chijoke Nwoke, the ECOWAS court dismissed the objection of government against Mr. Dasuki’s suit on the ground that the objection was misconceived, frivolous and lacked merit, maintaining that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought before it by Mr. Dasuki for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty and to own property as enshrined in the Nigerian 1999 constitution and African Charter on fundamental rights of persons.
Justice Nwoke who delivered the ruling also held that the claim of government that Mr. Dasuki’s case emanated from his trial on certain offences was inappropriate since the reliefs sought by Mr. Dasuki had nothing to do with his ongoing trial at the domestic courts of Nigeria.
The court further held that the claim of government that Mr. 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.
It can be recalled that Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd), had in January sued the Federal Government through his lawyers, Robert Emukpoeruo and Wale Balogun, at the ECOWAS court over his continued detention by the FG, even after meeting the conditions for his bail which has been granted by three different courts.
He also filed through his lawyer that the sub-regional court to declare that the invasion of his privacy, both at his Abuja and Sokoto residences on July 16 and 17, 2015 respectively, and the “forceful and unlawful seizure” of his properties, “without any lawful order or warrant” is a huge violation of his fundamental rights and offended the country’s treaty obligations as a signatory to the listed legal instruments. He demanded the payment of N500 million for damages for infringement on his fundamental human rights.
The federal government, had through its lawyer, Tijani Gazali, objected to Mr. Dasuki’s case on the ground that the ECOWAS court had no jurisdiction to dabble into the trial of any Nigerian in a Nigerian court and asked the ECOWAS court to strike out the case, saying it constituted an abuse to the Nigerian courts.
After the court dismissed the objection of the Federal government, it adjourned the case to May 17 and 18, 2016 for hearing of the substantive matter.