Justice Yusuf Halilu of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, Abuja, has criticised the Nigerian Army and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for their treatment of Col. Nicholas Ashinze, a former aide to the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
The judge accused the army and the EFCC of behaving like illiterates on Monday when he order them to immediately release Ashinze, ruling that his detention was “illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constituted a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of the applicant.”
Ashinze had been in detention since December 23, 2015 in connection with the ongoing arms scandal investigation.
Justice Halilu said, “The EFCC is a creation of the law. The court will not allow it to act as if it is above the law. It is remarkable to note that the motto of the EFCC is that nobody is above the law, yet they are acting as if they are above the law.
“The EFCC Act is not superior to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The respondents in this matter have not behaved as if we are in a civilised society. They have behaved as if we are in a military dictatorship, where they arrest and release persons at will.
“The respondents, I must be bold to say – the EFCC and the Army – have behaved like illiterates.”
The judge held that by virtue of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, an accused person was deemed innocent until proved guilty in a competent court of law.