The Court of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, ruled on Tuesday that the Nigerian government should pay the sum of N15 million as damages to a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, whose arrest and continued detention was found to be unlawful, arbitrary and a violation of his liberty.
It also ordered that Dasuki should be released and the cost of his litigation will be summed up and charged against the government.
Coming down hard on the government, the ECOWAS court said that the decision to re-arrest the former NSA after a court granted him bail on November 4 was a mockery of democracy and the rule of law.
The three-member ECOWAS court panel led by Justice Friday Nwoke also said that arresting Dasuki without a valid search warrant was wrong.
Dasuki is the most high profile suspect in the $2.1 billion arms fund scandal which shook the nation in 2015, when it was alleged that funds meant for the purchase of weapons for the military were diverted by officials in the government and mostly used to fund the reelection efforts of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Most of the suspects in the case have confirmed receipt of different sums from Dasuki but say they had no way of verifying the source of the funds.
Dasuki who is also accused of illegal possession of fire arms sued the federal government before the ECOWAS court after he was rearrested by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) shortly after meeting his bail conditions in November last year.
He has remained in the custody of the DSS since his arrest.
The court held that the search warrant which was presented before the ECOWAS court was not certified and therefore lacks verifiable authenticity.
The court further said the submission of Nigerian government that it came with the search warrant to Mr. Dasuki’s house but could not give it to him, because officers at his residence resisted the security operatives, was ineffective in proving its points.