From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
THE Nigerian Government has challenged the jurisdiction of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to entertain the suit brought before it by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
In the suit filed by his counsel, Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo, Dasuki, currently in detention is asking the ECOWAS Court to enforce his fundamental rights as enshrined in the African Charter on the people and human rights and the Nigerian Constitution.
Besides seeking for his release to face adequately, charges in court, Dasuki also demanded a compensatory damages of N500 million against the government for its egregious violation of his rights as guaranteed under the law.
However, when the case came up for hearing yesterday, the Federal Government through its counsel, Mr. T. A. Gazalli objected to Dasuki’s case on the ground that he has already been charged to Nigerian Courts for various alleged offences.
The counsel argued that the ECOWAS Court has no jurisdiction to enforce the bail conditions granted Dasuki because it cannot sit as an appellate court to the Nigerian Courts. He, therefore, urged the court not to entertain the case.
But Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. Wale Balogun urged the Court to dismiss the objection of the Federal Government for being misconceived and misplaced to the request of Dasuki before the court.
Balogun told a panel of three Justices of ECOWAS Court, led by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke that what Dasuki was asking for is the enforcement of his fundamental right to freedom, having been arrested and detained since December 2015 without trial or any lawful court order.
He claimed that there was no dispute in the fact that Dasuki was charged before three courts in Nigeria for various alleged offences and that he was granted bail by the three courts but was disallowed from enjoying the bail.
The counsel informed the ECOWAS Court that since December 2015 when the applicant was arrested and up till now, he has not been told of his offence or any charge preferred against him in the past four months, insisting that the continued detention of Dasuki is a violent breach of his fundamental right.