Kingsley Madaki, Abuja
The former Special Assistant to Sambo Dasuki, currently detained in an army facility in connection with the ongoing investigation of the arms purchase scandal, Colonel Nicholas Ashinze has slammed a N500 million suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Army.
In the suit filed through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the Army Officer is contesting his continued unlawful detention for about 12 weeks without any charge preferred against him.
Colonel Ashinze was first detained by the EFCC for eight weeks and released to the Army, which subsequently detained him, without any charge another four weeks in a military facility.
In the Notice of Application for an order enforcing his fundamental rights, which also has the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai was filed pursuant to Order 2 Rules (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009 and Under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
Col. Ashinze is praying the court to order EFCC and the authorities of the Nigerian Army to release forthwith, his personal effects, documents and properties which were illegally,wrongfully and unlawfully seized from him without any warrant, during his arrest and continued detention since December 23, last year.
Alternatively, he urged the court for an order granting him bail on self recognisance or in the most liberal terms as well as an order directing the Respondents to tender a public apology and pay him adequate compensation for the blatant violation of his fundamental rights without following due process.
Col. Ashinze also prayed the court to restrain the anti-graft agency and the Nigerian Army from further inviting, arresting or detaining him in their custody in relation to same frivolous allegations, which he knows nothing about.
The Army Officer, who had worked at a time, in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and was temporarily attached to the Defence Intelligence Agency (NIA) wants the court to declare that his arrest, detention and continued detention from 23rd December last year till date by the Respondents, without reasons and granting him administrative bail within 24 hours of his arrest and detention are illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitute a blatant violation of his fundamental rights.
A statement in support of the application alleged that Col Ashinze had been held incommunicado since December last year at the underground cell of the EFCC under torturous, inhuman and degrading conditions.
He was not told of his offence until 5th February, 2016 (after 44 days), when he was handed over to the Nigerian Army. While in detention, searches were conducted at his home, with several of his documents, properties and personal effects carted away.
“Since 5th February, 2016, when he was transferred from the custody of the EFCC to that of the Nigerian Army, he has been detained at the officer’s Mess, Mogadishu Cantonment, Asokoro, Abuja, with fully armed soldiers on 24 hours guard over him”, the statement added.
It will be recalled that several human rights groups queried Colonel Ashinze’s continued detention and petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation, the EFCC and even the Nigerian Army.
Arms Deal: Former Dasuki’s MA Drags EFCC, Nigerian Army To Court
Kingsley Madaki, Abuja