Buhari and His Constant Disregard Of Court Orders
There is a difference in lawful expression of discretion and unlawful expulsion of the law. After assuming office as the president of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari echoed his ever readiness to ensuring that the rule of law is being upheld by all government agencies under his administration. He also made it clear that his administration will not have room to accommodate any arm of government that undermines the rule of law.
This was also supported by an address made by the Vice President to journalists in April where he restated the commitment of the Buhari’s administration to the rule of law including the obedience to orders from the law courts. Despite these verbal assurance made by the President and his deputy, many situations which occurred have seen the administration of President Buhari violating court orders and going against the rule of law which it promised to uphold. From imprisonment of individuals unlawfully to the strong refusal of orders issued by the law court, below are some of the instance where the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has erred.
Sambo Dasuki is the former National Security Adviser under the President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan’s administration. He is among the persons who is still in custody even after several court orders for his release. Operatives of the State Security Service picked him up in December 2015 and was accused of illegal possession of firearms and diversion of $2.1 billion from the arms deal contract. Although Mr. Dasuki has been granted bail on at least six different occasions by various courts, the Nigerian government has persistently refused to comply with the court orders.
The court order was issued on Monday, July 2, 2018 by the Federal High Court in Abuja which granting bail to Dasuki from the custody of the DSS where he had been detained for two and a half years as of that time. Delivering the judgment, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu ruled out that a violation of right to liberty has been done to Dasuki for his detention since December 29, 2015.
The judge ruled out the appeal made by the federal government that Dasuki was kept in custody because of his alleged threat to national security together with his ongoing investigation for money laundering thus abrogating his rights. According to the judge also, should the DSS need any further reason to interrogate Dasuki, they could invite and interview him but only between the hours of 9am and 6pm on working day.
Also, the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice on October 4, 2016, ordered his release from the illegal custody; a judgement which the DSS had not obeyed following the instruction given by the Federal Government.
Nnamdi Kanu is the leader of the famous group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). On October 14, 2015, he was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and was charged to court on a five-count charge circling around treason. The Federal High Court on December 17, 2015 under the leadership of Justice Ademmola J. delivered a judgement on the bail application brought forward by Nnamdi Kanu through his legal counsel. The judgement gave an order to the DSS to release Nnamdi Kanu from detention unconditionally. Although he has been granted bail by the law courts, the federal government through its security apparatus have paid deaf ears to these court orders.
Nnamdi Kanu is not above the law neither should he be put beneath it. A situation where the government fails to obey legitimate orders from the court to release Nnamdi Kanu and hold him in detention, amending the charges against him to create a favourable environment for them together with planning to try him secretly constitutes a situation way far beyond constitutional due process.
According to Jideobi, Kanu’s legal counsel team member, both individuals and authorities should enforce the decisions of the federal courts, National Industrial courts, High court and any other court established by the Nigerian constitution in all part of the federation. Therefore, Nnamdi Kanu case should not be different; the government should simply obey the court order.
A continuum of this disobedience of the Federal Government to court orders makes the country become the Hobbesian State of Nature where the abuse of human rights, assaults on Judiciary and disregard for court orders, and desecration of federal charter principle gets the upper hand over democratic ethics.
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