Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Colonel Nicholas Ashinze, a serving officer in the Nigerian Army, who was Special Assistant to the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has filed a suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) and the Nigerian Army challenging his continued detention.
In the suit filed through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the army officer is challenging his detention for about 12 weeks without any charge preferred against him.
Ashinze was first detained by the EFCC for eight weeks and released to the army, which subsequently detained him, without any charge for another four weeks in a military facility.
In the application for an order enforcing his fundamental rights, which also has the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai as a respondent, was filed pursuant to Order 2 Rules (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009.
Ashinze is praying the court to order EFCC and the the Nigerian Army to release forthwith, his personal effects, documents and properties which were illegally,wrongfully and unlawfully seized from him without any warrant, during his arrest and continued detention since December 23, last year.
Alternatively, he urged the court to issue an order granting him bail on self recognition or in the most liberal terms as well as an order directing the respondents to tender a public apology and pay him adequate compensation for the blatant violation of his fundamental rights without following due process.
Ashinze also prayed the court to restrain the anti-graft agency and the Nigerian Army from further inviting, arresting or detaining him in their custody in relation to same frivolous allegations, which he knows nothing about.
The army officer, who had worked at a time, in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and was temporarily attached to the Defence Intelligence Agency (NIA) asked the court to declare that his arrest, detention and continued detention from 23rd December last year till date by the respondents, without reasons and granting him administrative bail within 24 hours of his arrest and detention illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitute a blatant violation of his fundamental rights.
A statement in support of the application alleged that Ashinze had been held incommunicado since December last year at the underground cell of the EFCC under torturous, inhuman and degrading conditions.
He was not told of his offence until 5th February, 2016 (after 44 days), when he was handed over to the Nigerian Army. While in detention, searches were conducted at his home, with several of his documents, properties and personal effects carted away.
“Since 5th February, 2016, when he was transferred from the custody of the EFCC to that of the Nigerian Army, he has been detained at the officer’s Mess, Mogadishu Cantonment, Asokoro, Abuja, with fully armed soldiers on 24 hours guard over him”, the statement added.
There is no date for the hearing of the suit which was filed on Monday.