Again, court orders DSS to free Dasuki

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After over two years in the custody of the Department of the State Security (DSS), a Federal High Court in Abuja n Monday ordered the Federal Government to release former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki rtd on bail.

The reprieve for Dasuki who was clamped into detention since December 29, 2015 came in the judgment of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in the fundamental human right suit filed by the Ex-NSA.

Dasuki who had been granted bail by four different High Courts in Nigeria and ECOWAS Court of Justice, in the suit argued by his counsel, Ahmed Raji, urged the court to compel the Federal Government to obey all court orders for his release from detention.

In the latest judgement, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ordered that Dasuki be released on bail in the sum of N200million and two sureties in the like sum. The court said that 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 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.

Besides, Justice Ojukwu 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.

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

In the judgement that lasted over one hour, Justice Ojukwu lambasted 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 court dismissed the claim of the security agency that Dasuki was being held in protective custody on the strength of the alleged arm and ammunition found in his house. Justice Ijeoma held that although 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 agreed with counsel to Dasuki Mr Ahmed Raji that Dasuki never shuns any invitation for interrogation by any of the security agencies adding that from the affidavit evidence of the former NSA, it was cleared that he had been detained since December 2015 without any investigation or interrogation.

The judge also dismissed the claims of the Federal Government that 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 Dasuki was abusing court process by filing multiple cases in court, Justice Ijeoma dismissed the claim for being baseless and frivolous adding that in the instance case parties are different from the previous one and as such the issue of forum-shopping cannot be used against Dasuki.

In the event of any plan to investigate 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 and also ordered that his travelling passport should remain with the court.

The former NSA had dragged the Federal Government and its agencies before 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 the sum of N5billion 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 Dasuki, Ahmed Raji said that the judge has rekindled the hope of Nigerians in the judiciary and promise that his client would do anything humanly possible to perfect the bail condition within a reasonable time.

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