The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened heavy sanctions against Nigeria if it fails to obey the ECOWAS Court order that granted bail to the country’s former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The court had in its October 2016 judgment also ordered the Federal Government to pay a fine of N15m.
Months after the order, the government has neither released Dasuki nor paid the fine.
In an email correspondence, a spokesman for the ECOWAS Court, Sunny Ugoh, stated that judgments of the court of justice were “final and immediately enforceable.”
According to him, decisions of the court are binding on ECOWAS member states, individuals and corporate organisations.
Ugoh said, “Consequently, the instruments of the court provide that member states and institutions shall immediately take all necessary measures to ensure execution of the decisions of the court.
“First, all member states shall determine and give competence to a named national authority for the purpose of receipt and processing for execution of the decisions of the court. The court is to be notified of the designation of such authority.
“Nigeria has complied with that obligation, since it has notified the court of the appointment of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation as the national authority responsible for the execution of the decisions of the court.”
When asked if the court would sanction the Federal Government, Ugoh said, “In the unfortunate event of failure by any member state to ensure execution of decisions of the court, the ‘2012 Supplementary Act on Sanctions against member states that fail to honour their obligations to ECOWAS’ will apply.
“This vital community legal instrument provides for a wide range of sanctions that can be imposed as well as the relevant procedures to be followed.”
A copy of the Supplementary Act on Sanctions made available to our correspondent showed that Nigeria could be suspended from participating in ECOWAS activities.
Other sanctions, according to the document, include the suspension of Nigeria’s right to vote and participate in all decision-making organs of the organisation; travel ban on its leaders, their families and associates; freezing of their financial assets; and ban on standing for the chairmanship of the community.
Dasuki, who was arrested for alleged economic crimes and other offences, is currently facing charges relating to criminal diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms for fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.
But he has remained in the custody of the Department of State Services since he was rearrested at Kuje prison on December 29, 2015 upon being released after fulfilling the bail conditions granted by three courts that ruled in his favour. – Punch.