The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the immediate release of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), from detention and to pay N15m damages.
The Court has jurisdiction to determine cases of violation of human rights that occur in any Member State.
According to a Guardian report, in the judgment delivered by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke on Tuesday, the regional court also imposed a N15 million fine on the Federal Government as damages to Dasuki for depriving him of his freedom to liberty and ownership of property.
The former NSA has been in the custody of the government since December 2015.
The court held that the detention of Dasuki violated both national and international laws on the right of persons and citizens to the freedom of liberty.
In the judgment that lasted over an hour, the ECOWAS court dismissed the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes used by the government to justify the detention of Dasuki. It rather held that the Nigerian government missed the track because Dasuki applied to the court for the enforcement of his breached and contravened fundamental rights.
The court held: “Having perused the case before us, we have come to the conclusion that the re-arrest and detention of the applicant after he had been granted bail by three courts since December last year made mockery of the rule of law. Executive arm should not interfere with the judiciary.
“Even if the applicant has committed crimes of whatever nature, the principle of innocence must be respected, and the fact that he has been charged to court does not disentitle him to the freedom of liberty. Courts must rise to their responsibilities and prevent executive lawlessness.
“It is the applicant today; it could be anybody tomorrow. There is no legal basis for the re-arrest of the applicant other than to circumvent the bails granted by Qcourts.
“We have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the purported search warrant claimed to have been obtained by the Nigerian government was an afterthought aimed at perverting the course of justice because the so-called search warrant was not certified, and to worsen the case, the defendant claimed that it could not serve the same search warrant on the applicant.”