The Court of Appeal in Abuja has declared as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional the detention of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).
Backstory: Since December 29, 2015, Sambo Dasuki has been in detention by the DSS, as he is being investigated by the Federal Government (FG) on allegations he diverted $2.1 billion from funds meant for the war against terrorism.
- A Federal High Court (FHC) judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu shifted no ground last July despite Dasuki’s complaints that his bail conditions were too harsh and stringent, especially the demand of a deposit of N100 million.
- When the matter was brought to the Appeals court on June 13, 2019, Dasuki’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, however informed the court that the N100 million was eventually paid, and yet Dasuki was not released.
The new order: The panel led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson has made some changes to the earlier stringent bail conditions.
The newly reduced bail conditions are;
- The bail which was N100 million cash equivalent will now be in bonds and is to be deposited with the registrar of the Federal High Court alongside Dasuki’s international passport, pending the determination of his case.
- A fine of N5million is now imposed on the DSS and is to be paid to Dasuki as compensation for breaching his fundamental and constitutional right.
- The court has ordered that Dasuki can only be questioned during work hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m and shall no longer be detained if he honors future invites for questioning.
- The court has also ordered the FHC registrar to inform the FG through the DSS once Dasuki meets the new bail conditions and ensure that the accused is immediately released.
What it means: The DSS has the option of appealing the ruling at the Supreme Court. If it does not, then it ought to release Dasuki immediately or be in contempt of court. Sadly, as we have found in recent times including in this case, obeying of court orders by the FG and its agencies is not guaranteed at all.