UPDATED: Again court grants Ex-NSA Dasuki bail

Sambo Dasuki
Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court (FHC) has again granted a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, bail.

Mr Dasuki was arrested by operatives of the State Security Service in December 2015 and has remained in the detention facility of the secret police since his arrest.

He is accused of masterminding the diversion of $2.1 billion from his former office. He is also accused of unlawful possession of firearms.

The former NSA is facing multiple charges for the alleged offences.

Various court orders for his release had been made which were not respected by the security operatives.

Mr Dasuki had also demanded the enforcement of his rights at the ECOWAS court of justice which ordered his unconditional release. That order was also not respected by the federal government.

In the application decided on Monday, Mr Dasuki asked the FHC court to determine whether his detention for over two years was not in negation of his fundamental rights.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu delivered the judgement on the application and ordered the respondents to immediately release the defendant.

The court said Mr Dasuki’s bail bond would be N200 million and that the defendant should present two sureties in like sum.

One of the sureties must be a federal government employee with not less than grade level 16 who must submit to the court his letter of appointment and the last letter of his promotion to pave way for the release of Mr Dasuki.

In the event of a private person standing as the surety, the court held that the person must have landed property in Abuja and must submit before the court original of the property and must also swear to the affidavit of means. The judge said the surety must deposit N100 million with the registrar of the court and that the money would be returned to the surety at the end of the trial of the former NSA.

The judge also ordered that the surety must submit to the court his recent passport photograph and that his residential address must be verified by the official of the court as part of the bail condition.

In the judgement that lasted over one hour, Justice Ojukwu criticised the federal government for unjustly arresting and detaining a Nigerian citizen for over two years without any justification contrary to the provision of the law.

The judge dismissed the claim of the security agency that Mr Dasuki was being held in protective custody on the strength of the alleged arm and ammunition found in his house.

Justice Ojukwu held that although Mr Dasuki in the instance case had been charged to various courts on the issue, the law however presumed that the former NSA is innocent of the charges against him until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge also dismissed the claims of the federal government that Mr Dasuki was being held on fresh allegations of money laundering, adding that such claims should go to the graveyard because it cannot be used to justify the detention of any Nigerian for as long as over two years without being charged to court on any fresh allegation.

On another claim by the federal government that Mr Dasuki was abusing court process by filing multiple cases in court, the judge dismissed the claim as baseless and frivolous adding that in the instant case, parties are different from the previous one, and as such the issue of forum-shopping cannot be used against Mr Dasuki.

In the event of any plan to investigate Mr Dasuki, Justice Ojukwu ordered that such investigation must be conducted during working days and that the former NSA must not be detained for whatever reason. He also ordered that his travelling passport should remain with the court.

The former NSA had dragged the federal government and its agencies before the court for the enforcement of his fundamental right to liberty claiming that he had been unlawfully detained since December 2015 without being charged top court.

The former NSA demanded N5 billion as exemplary damages for the breach of his fundamental right and the detention without trial for over two years.

Although Justice Ojukwu agreed that the former NSA was illegally, unlawfully and unconstitutionally detained, she, however, did not award any damage against the federal government.

Reacting to the judgement, counsel to Mr Dasuki, Ahmed Raji, said that the judge has rekindled the hope of Nigerians in the judiciary. He said his client would do anything humanly possible to perfect the bail condition within a reasonable time.

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