Judge Orders Immediate Release Of Dasuki’s Aide, Knocks ‘Overzealous’ EFCC

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Temporary reprieve came the way of an aide to the former National Security Adviser, Nickolas Ashinzeh, as an Abuja High Court on Monday ordered his immediate release from a military facility.

The court also warned Nigerian security agencies against wrongful detention of suspects.

Ashinzeh, a serving colonel, had approached the court to protest his prolonged detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, without trial since December 23, 2015.

Ashinzeh also prayed the court to order the respondents to pay N500 million as damage, and also issue an apology for violation of his rights.

In his ruling, the trial Judge, Yusuf Halilu, ordered the suspect to be released forthwith, adding that the agencies responsible for the detention must learn to act within the provisions of law.

“The respondents have not behaved like those living in a civilized society. They behaved like we are still in the military era.

“The EFCC’s motto is: Nobody is above the law; but they are acting as if they are above the law here”, Mr. Halilu said.
The judge further said the era of overzealousness on the part of security officers would no longer be tolerated.

“The EFCC Act is not superior to the 1999 Constitution as amended”, said Mr. Halilu.

The judge noted that based on Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, the detention of the applicant since December 23, 2015, is illegal, wrongful and a “blatant” violation of his (Mr. Ashinzeh’s) fundamental rights.

He, however, declined granting the applicant’s prayer regarding payment of the sum of N500 million for damages as well as an apology from the respondents.

Mr. Halilu also did not grant the prayers sought by the applicant that a perpetual injunction be issued to the three respondents.

“Perpetual injunction can only be granted after trial especially when an accused person has proved his case.

“If the EFCC has a case against the applicant they should take him to court”, he added.