The Court sitting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), from detention.
This is even as the court held that the arrest and detention of the ex-NSA on November 4, 2015 after he was granted bail by a court of law, was unlawful and amounting to a mockery of democracy and the rule of law.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke, also imposed a N15 million fine on the Federal Government as damages to Dasuki for depriving him of his freedom to liberty and ownership of property.
The ECOWAS court of justice, while dismissing the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes used by the government to justify the detention of Dasuki, held that the Nigerian government missed the track because the ex-NSA applied to the court for the enforcement of his breached and contravened fundamental rights.
Justice Nwoke maintained that the federal government failed to prove its reasons for arresting and detaining Mr. Dasuki, as documents presented before it only emphasised the allegations of fraud and illegal possession of arms.
The regional court also flayed the Nigerian government for taking the laws into its hands and making mockery of the rule of law by arresting the applicant without a warrant of arrest or detention when he had legally been granted bail by the appropriate courts.
The court ruled that the federal government should pay a sum of N15 million as damages to Mr. Dasuki, adding that the cost of litigation will be summed up and charged against the Nigerian government.
Mr. Dasuki is facing multiple trials for alleged diversion of $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms in the immediate past administration.
The former NSA has been in the custody of the government since December 2015.