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Court Grants Dasuki Bail, Declares Detention Illegal

Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki

Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has again, been granted bail by an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court (FHC).

This is the sixth time the former NSA would be granted bail by a court since his arrest and detention in December 2015. None of the court orders, including one from the ECOWAS Court of Justice, where Dasuki had demanded the enforcement of his rights, and which ordered his unconditional release, have been obeyed by the authorities.

The court also declared the continuing detention of Dasuki, who is accused of masterminding the diversion of $2.1 billion while in office, and unlawful possession of firearms, as illegal.

Delivering judgement on the former NSA’s application to the court to determine whether his detention for over two years was not in violation of his fundamental rights, on Monday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, granted him bail in the sum of N200 million and two sureties in like sum.

The court said one of the sureties must be a federal government employee on not less than grade level 16, who must submit his letter of appointment and last letter of promotion to the court.

The court also held that in the event of a private individual standing surety, such an individual must have landed property in Abuja and must submit before the court, original documents of the property and must also swear to the affidavit of means, in addition to depositing the sum of N100 million with the registrar of the court, which would be returned at the end of Dasuki’s trial.

Justice Ojukwu further said 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 but held that although Mr Dasuki had been charged to various courts on the issue, the law presumed him innocent 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, saying 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 international 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 and had 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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