THE Federal Government on Wednesday gave a reason why it did not immediately comply with the judgement of an ECOWAS Court to release a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Court on Tuesday gave a judgement directing the release of Mr. Dasuki. On Wednesday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the government needs to study the content of the ruling before acting on it.
Mr. Dasuki has been detained since last year for allegedly mismanaging billions of dollars meant for purchase of arms as well as for illegal possession of arms.
The government’s stance was made known to Premium Times by Salihu Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Mr. Malami.
He said the government needs to fully understand the content of the court’s proceedings and judgement before reacting.
“We cannot just react. We will first of all study the judgement to understand it’s content before taking a stand,” he said.
The ECOWAS Court ordered the release of Mr. Dasuki on Tuesday, describing his arrest and continued detention as unlawful and arbitrary.
A three -member panel of the court, led by Justice Friday Nwoke said the search conducted at Mr. Dasuki’s residence without a warrant was illegal and against Nigerian laws.
Although the court said it would not go into the details of whether or not Mr. Dasuki’s alleged possession of arms were criminal, it added that an owner is entitled to enjoyment of its property.
The court said the manner of arrest and detention of Mr. Dasuki went contrary to article six of the African Charter on Human Rights and Article 9 (1) of the international order on civil and political rights.
“Liberty is the rule and detention is the exception,” said Mr. Nwoke, adding that the deprivation of Mr. Dasuki’s liberty should only be considered if he is convicted by a court of law.
The Court ordered the Federal Government to pay N15 million as damages to Mr. Dasuki.
With the stance of the chief law officer of the Nigerian government, Mr. Dasuki may still spend more time in jail.