Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, granted fresh bail in the sum of N200 million to a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).
Dasuk has been in the custody of the Department of State Service for about three years. Justice Ojukwu is about the fifth judge that has admitted Dasuki to bail but the federal government had on each occasion disobeyed such order.
In March 2018, the former NSA filed an enforcement of fundamental rights suit before the court.
In the motion, he argued that his continued detention since December 29, 2015 amounted to violation of his right to liberty. Delivering judgement, the trial judge held that the detention of Dasuki since 2015 constitutes a breach of his fundamental rights.
She however refused the request by Dasuki seeking for N5 billion damages.
The court further ordered Dasuki to produce two sureties who must either be a civil servant of Grade Level 16 at the minimum in the Federal Civil Service or private citizens, who have landed properties in the municipal areas of Abuja.
She added that the surety must deposit the sum of 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 court also ordered that the surety must submit to the court their recent passport photograph and that their residential address must be verified by the official of the court as part of the bail condition. The court, however, held that the federal government’s contention that Dasuki was being kept in custody on the grounds of his alleged threat to national security and his alleged ongoing investigation for money laundering did not warrant “abrogating his right”.
Justice Ojukwu held that should there be any further reason to interrogate him, DSS could only invite and interview him between the hours of 9am and 6pm on working days.
The court condemned the action of 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 Ojukwu held that although Dasuki in the instant 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, Ahmed Raji, SAN, 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 clear 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.
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