The Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS, Court has ordered immediate release of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Muhammadu Sambo Dasuki (rtd) from detention, where he has been kept since December 2015.

The regional court held that the detention of Dasuki violated both national and international laws on the right of persons and citizens to freedom of liberty. The court also held that the further arrest of Mr. Dasuki by government on November 4, after he was granted bail by a court of law, amounts to a mockery of democracy and the rule of law.

In a judgement by the court that lasted over one hour and delivered by Justice Friday Chijioike Nwoke, the ECOWAS court imposed a fine of N15,000,000 against Nigeria as compensatory damages to the former National Security Adviser for the deprivation of his freedom to liberty and the deprivation of his properties.

The regional court dismissed the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes allegedly committed by Dasuki, adding that the Nigeria government missed the track because the applicant applied before the court for the enforcement of his breached rights and contravention of his fundamental right.

Justice Nwoke said that even if the applicant had committed a crime the law still has it that due process of the law must be observed in his trial, adding that it is an established fact that the applicant was put on trial in three different Nigeria High Courts and was granted bails by the courts.

The court said that the action of the Nigerian government in subjecting the Ex-NSA into continued detention is condemnable because criminality has not been established against him.

Justice Chijioke further said that the Nigerian government took laws into its hands and made mockery of the rule of law by arresting the applicant without warrant of arrest or warrant of detention when he had legally been granted bail by the appropriate courts 

It added that the ECOWAS court was not set to determine whether or not the possession of arms by Dasuki amounted to an offence or not. It however decided that the arrest was unlawful, arbitrary and a violation of local and international rights to liberty. 

The court ruled that FG should pay a sum of N15m as damages to Dasuki. It also decided that the cost of litigation will be summed up and charged against the Nigerian government.

Dasuki approached the ECOWAS court after he was rearrested by members of Nigeria’s State Security Service shortly after meeting his bail conditions in November, 2015. He has remained in the custody of the SSS since his arrest.

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