By Wandoo Sombo
The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, admitted former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki to bail in the sum of N200 million and also declared his detention as illegal.
The bail also came with the condition of two sureties in the same amount.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the order in a judgment on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Dasuki against the Department of State Services, DSS challenging his detention by the agency since Dec. 29, 2015.
The judge said that the continuous detention of Dasuki by the DSS since 2015 was an aberration to the rule of law.
“It is curious to note that the applicant has been in detention for almost three years. The 1st and 2nd respondents cannot hold somebody in custody under the guise of investigation,”‘ the judge said.
She said that it was settled law that justifying the reasons for arrest and detention of any citizen was the sole responsibility of the arresting agency.
She noted that from the depositions and written address of the DSS tendered before the court, the DSS had failed to justify why Dasuki was detained since 2015.
The other bail conditions given by the court included that the sureties must swear an affidavit of means and must not be less than grade level 16 in the public service and must tender their letters of appointment.
She, however said that in a situation where the sureties were private citizens, they should be owners of landed properties within the Federal Capital Territory.
The court further ordered that they must show evidence of tax payment for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In addition, Ojukwu directed that either of the sureties or the applicant shall deposit the sum of N100 million as security into the account of the Federal High Court.
The court held that in case the DSS wanted to interview Dasuki, such interrogation must be from morning to evening of any day, and that he must not be detained.
The court further directed that Dasuki’s international passport which was currently with the DSS, should be submitted to the chief registrar of the court.
The court also held that the action instituted before it did not amount to forum shopping as the other suits mentioned by the Attorney-General of the Federation involved EFCC, a different party.
The court noted that the submission of Dasuki’s counsel that the instant fundamental rights enforcement suit was a fresh action, was not debunked by the DSS.
The court also held that the allegation of money laundering against the applicant as claimed by the respondents, did not threaten national security.
The court did not however, award the N5 billion cost against the DSS as Dasuki had requested.
The AGF, arguing through Mr Dayo Apata, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, had urged the court to dismiss the motion because it amounted to forum shopping.
The AGF insisted that litigants could not be allowed to indulge in forum shopping, adding that Dasuki compromised the fight against Boko Haram by sharing the money meant for weapons.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that Dasuki had in the application filed by his counsel, Mr Ahmed Raji, (SAN), asked the court for a declaration that he was entitled to his fundamental rights to human dignity as enshrined under Section 35 of the constitution.
He had also prayed for an order compelling the DSS to release him unconditionally and demanded an order for the DSS to tender a public apology to him in two national dailies.
NAN reports that five different courts had previously made valid orders granting Dasuki bail but the DSS had refused to release him.