A Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, Abuja, on Tuesday fixed March 14 for judgment in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by a former aide to the ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), Col. Nicholas Ashinze, seeking an order releasing him (Ashinze) from custody on bail.
Ashinze alleged through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), that he had been in custody of the respondents to the suit, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Army since December 23, 2015.
Apart from the EFCC and the Nigerian Army, the other respondent is the Chief of Army Staff.
Ashinze was said to have been arrested and detained in relation to ongoing investigation into alleged mismanagement of arms funds under the previous administration.
In his suit, Ashinze, urged the court to declare that his arrest and continued detention since December 23, 2015 “without being given any reason and without granting him administrative bail within 24 hours, or 48 hours of his arrest and detention, is illegal, wrongful and unlawful.”
He added that it constituted “a blatant violation” of his fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 34 (1), 35 (1), (3), (4) & (6), 36 (1), 37, 41 (1), 44 (1) and 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as well as various provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act as well as African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
None of the respondents was present in court for the hearing in the case on Tuesday.
Ozekhome urged the court on Tuesday to go ahead with the hearing as the absence of the respondents’ lawyers was insufficient to adjourn the case which was already fixed for hearing.
He added that the respondents might decide not to defend its case, but that the court could summon them if need be.
Justice Yusuf said the case could not be adjourned on the basis of the respondents’ absence.
While arguing his client’s case on Tuesday, Ozekhome urged the court to grant bail to the detainee on self-recognition especially because the respondents had not filed any counter-affidavit to oppose the suit.
Ozekhome said, “In law the facts are deemed admitted for all purposes.
“In all the cases cited, the courts were clear that you do not need to force a person to file a counter as all the facts filed by the applicant are deemed admitted.”
The judge subsequently fixed March 14 for judgment.
Among other prayers, the applicant sought an order of the court directing the respondents to release him and his personal effects, documents as well as his other belongings which h alleged were illegally, wrongfully and unlawfully seized from him without any warrant, during his arrest.
He an alternative prayer for an order granting bail to the him on self-recognition “or in the most liberal terms as the court may deem fit to impress in the peculiar circumstances of this case.”
He also sought an order directing the respondents to tender to him a public apology and pay to him N500m as compensation.