Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Muhammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), on Monday at the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) Court won the first leg of his case challenging his alleged unlawful arrest and detention without trial since December last year by the federal government.
The court in Abuja ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought before it by Dasuki for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty and to own properties as enshrined in the provisions of the Nigerian 1999 constitution and African Charter on fundamental rights of persons.
In the ruling delivered by Justice Friday Chijoke Nwoke, the ECOWAS court dismissed outright the objection of the government against Dusuki’s suit on the ground that the objection was misplaced, misconceived, frivolous and lacked merit.
Justice Nwoke in the unanimous ruling of the 3-member panel of the court held that the claim of government that Dasuki’s case emanated from his trial on certain offences was inappropriate and being basis for its objection to the applicants case in this matter could not hold water since the reliefs sought by Dasuki have nothing to do with the ongoing trial at the domestic courts of Nigeria.
The justices said that in their own opinion, the claim of government that Dasuki ought to have filed contempt charge against the Nigerian government for disobeying court orders that admitted him to bail but flouted by the government was not sustainable because his the case of applicant was not ambiguous, in that it was not based on any criminal trial in any court.
Justice Nwoke said that at any rate, the case of Nigerian government could not stand in the face of the law because there was no evidence that Dasuki had filed similar pending matter in any international court and that even if he had similar matter in any Nigerian court up to Supreme Court, such domestic courts could not have the status of international court as envisaged in the treaty in which Nigeria was a signatory.
He ruled: “In our opinion, what Dasuki brought before us as a case is an issue for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty and own property and against unlawful arrest, unlawful detention and unlawful seizure of properties without any court order or warrant of arrest.
“From the totality of the issues brought before this court, it is clear and there is no ambiguity that the applicant is seeking enforcement of his right to freedom and not on the issue of his trial for any alleged offence before any Nigerian court”.
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