ECOWAS Court Asks Dasuki, FG to Argue Their Cases

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court has called on former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), to open his case against the federal government.
The court also ordered the federal government to be ready to open its defence to justify the detention of the former NSA.
While Dasuki will open his case today, the federal government will also argue its defence to the suit tomorrow.

The presiding judge of the regional court, Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, gave the order in Abuja yesterday at the resumed hearing of the suit instituted by Dasuki challenging his alleged unlawful detention, unlawful seizure of properties and infringement on his fundamental right to liberty.
Justice Nwoke, while ruling in a motion by federal government seeking to lead oral evidence against Dasuki to justify his continued detention, said the court, having granted expeditious hearing in the case, would not do anything to defeat the accelerated hearing order.

  The judge granted the request of the federal government to call two witnesses who are security operatives to lead oral evidence against Dasuki but ordered that the defence by government must be done within one day.
He subsequently ordered Dasuki to make out his case of the abuse of fundamental rights against government today while the federal government must put its defence at the disposal of the court tomorrow.

He said: “Having listened to the parties in this matter and the parties having filed and put all necessary documents and exhibits at the disposal of this court and having granted accelerated hearing in this matter, it is in the interest of justice that this case must be expeditiously dealt with.
“In this regard, the plaintiff is hereby ordered to make out his case today May 18, and the defendant to ventilate its defence the following day, May 19 after which we will adjourn for judgment.”

Dasuki had dragged the federal government before the ECOWAS Court asking it to intervene in his detention without trial since December last year.
The ex-NSA asked the court to void his detention, the seizure of his properties and to bar government from further detaining him without a lawful court order.

He asked the court to award in his favour a sum of N500 million as compensatory damages for his alleged unlawful invasion of his house, detention, seizure of properties and infringement on his rights.
Dasuki claimed that government had put him on trial in three different high courts on corruption charges where he was granted bail and that after his bail, he was re-arrested on December 29, 2015, and has since been held incommunicado.

The federal government, through its counsel, Mr. Tijani Gazali, had argued a preliminary objection against Dasuki on the grounds that he ought to have filed a contempt charge against the government for alleged disobedience to court order on the bail granted him but the court dismissed the objection.
It ruled that the case of the plaintiff was on his fundamental rights and had nothing to do with the domestic court.

At yesterday’s hearing, a motion by government seeking to call oral evidence by federal government against Dasuki was granted by the court.
Justice Nwoke however lambasted the federal government for filing the motion on notice yesterday adding that the action of government was a ploy to impede accelerated hearing already granted but however said that the request was granted in the interest of justice.