The Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) Court in a judgement delivered on Tuesday by Justice Friday Chijioike Nwoke has ordered the immediate release of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Muhammadu Sambo Dasuki from his continued detention without trial since December 2015. This was contained in a press release on Tuesday from PR-Nigeria which stated that the court imposed a fine of N15 million against Nigeria as compensatory damages to Sambo Dasuki for the deprivation of his freedom to liberty and the deprivation of his properties.
In the judgement which lasted about one hour, Justice Nwoke said: “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 last year make 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 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 courts. 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 cost 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. For the avoidance of doubt, anybody who commit crimes must be put on trial before an appropriate court but in doing so, the state must respect local and international laws in the prosecution of such persons.”