Dasuki’s release: Before we can comply with ECOWAS Court order – Malami

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ECOWAS Court

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*SAN appeals to FG, AGF, intelligence unit to facilitate compliance with release order

*As law professor states why Dasuki can’t be released by ECOWAS Court order

 By Our Reporter

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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has reportedly said that the Nigeria’s Federal Government is waiting for the judgment document from the ECOWAS Court over its ruling ordering for the release of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) before any action.

The DEFENDER gathered that Malami made this known in a chat with reporters during the meeting of Attorneys General at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.

According to the report, the Attorney General said although there was room for judicial review but that the Federal Government would comply with the judgment of the ECOWAS Court and the necessary provisions of the law as applicable after having studied same within the provisions of the prevailing law in home country.

He said, “We will study the ruling, we are waiting for the ruling from the ECOWAS Court, and one thing that I am certain of is that there is room for judicial review.  But one thing I can assure you is that we will comply with the order and the necessary provisions of the law as applicable, so we study it in line with the provisions of the prevailing law in the country,” he said.

It would be recalled that the ECOWAS Court last Tuesday in Abuja ordered for Dasuki’s release and also awarded a fine of N15m against the government for illegal detention of the former NSA.

Justice  Chijioke Nwoke who delivered the judgement said that even if the applicant had committed a crime, the law still has it that due process of the law must be observed in his trial adding that it is an established fact that the applicant was put on trial in three different Nigerian High Courts and was granted bails by the courts.

The court condemned the action of the Nigerian government in subjecting the ex-NSA to indefinite detention without trial.

However some other legal icons, reacting to the ECOWAS Court ruling, had deferred on the matter.  Where some said favoured compliance with the ECOWAS Court order, some other ones were of the opinion that since ECOWAS Treaty had been domesticated Nigeria that ECOWAS Court had come part of Nigerian legislation and so that the former NSA could not be released by other court orders

On his part Alhaji Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate of Nigeria, asked the government to comply with the order.

Raji said that Nigeria as a respected member of ECOWAS and the International Community is expected to honour its obligations to the protocols establishing the court by complying with its order.

The senior lawyer said that the spirit invoked in the acceptance of the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the disputed oil rich Bakassi Land must be applied in the decision of the ECOWAS Court.

Raji explained that ECOWAS Court was not a domestic court, its sitting in Nigeria notwithstanding.

“I am appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to facilitate immediate compliance with the ECOWAS Court decision. I am also appealing to the Presidential aides especially the Chief Law Officer of the Federation Mallam Abubakar Malami SAN and the heads of the intelligence units to advise the President properly.

“The order of the court cannot be ridiculed and Nigeria, as a democratic nation, cannot afford to ridicule the court order in the interest of the corporate image of the country”.

But a constitutional lawyer and professor of law, Auwalu Yadudu, said the ECOWAS court had no superior powers over other Nigerian courts, because, according to him, “Nigeria has domesticated the ECOWAS Treaty and the ECOWAS Court has become part of our legislation.”

“The ECOWAS court doesn’t have stronger powers than metropolitan courts.

“Whatever the court decides, it will be treated as part of the Nigerian constitution. It doesn’t enjoy any other powers than an ordinary court in the country,” Yadudu said.

He said unlike municipal courts, like the Federal High Court Lagos for instance, the ECOWAS Court doesn’t have powers to enforce its judgments. It doesn’t have the police force or any other law enforcement agencies to enforce its rulings.”

Yadudu said the refusal of any government agency to implement a court order is another determinant of the weakness of the rule of law in the country.

He said the former NSA Sambo Dasuki’s case represents the political escalation of the ongoing saga, whereby Nigerians go to “regional courts such as the ECOWAS Court for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights because they couldn’t get it at the domestic courts such as the Federal High Court, Lagos.”

The professor of law said the federal government can’t release Dasuki based on other court orders. He said the former security chief is being tried in other courts on different charges.


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