The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court has ordered the Federal Government to justify the continued detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
It also ordered the detained Dasuki to make out his case against government challenging his detention. Dasuki has been detained since December last year.
Presiding judge of the regional court, Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, gave the order, in Abuja, on Tuesday, at the resumed hearing in a legal action instituted by Dasuki to challenge his alleged unlawful detention, unlawful seizure of property and infringement on his fundamental rights to freedom of liberty.
Justice Nwoke, while ruling in a motion by Federal Government seeking to lead oral evidence against Dasuki to justify his detention, said that the regional court, having granted expeditious hearing in the case of alleged abuse of fundamental rights, will not do anything to defeat the accelerated hearing order.
In the ruling, Nwoke granted the request of the Federal Government to call two witnesses, who were security operatives to lead oral evidence against Dasuki, but ordered that the defense 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 (May 18) while the Federal Government must put its defence at the disposal of the court on Thursday, May 19, 2016.
He said: “Having listened to 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 on Wednesday, May 18 and the defendant to produce his defense the following day, May 19. He said the court will fix a date for judgment”.
Dasuki had dragged the Federal Government before the ECOWAS Court praying the regional court to intervene in his detention without trial since December last year.
The ex-NSA asked the court to void the detention, the seizure of his property and to bar government from further detaining him without a lawful court order.
In the court action instituted by his counsel Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo, Dasuki asked the court to award in his favor 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.
He 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 had since been held incommunicado without lawful court order.
The Federal Government through its counsel, Mr. Tijani Gazali, had argued a preliminary objection against Dasuki on the ground 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 ECOWAS court ruled that the case of the plaintiff was on his fundamental rights and had nothing to do with the domestic court.
At Tuesday’s hearing, a motion seeking to call oral evidence by Federal Government against Dasuki was granted by the court.
Nwoke however expressed displeasure that the Federal Government filed the motion on notice on Tuesday adding that the action of the government was a ploy to impede accelerated hearing already granted but however said that the request was granted in the interest of justice.