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Of Dasuki and the rule of law


Former national security adviser (NSA), retired Col. Sambo Dasuki PHOTO: NAN<br />

It is most troubling and highly embarrassing that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari now considers the executive arm of the government an appellate court to the judgements of competent courts of law.

It is unfortunate that despite court orders that the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki be granted bail, the Federal Government which controls the powers of coercion and under the obligation to execute court judgements without delay has refused to release him.

There is no doubt, that the continuous incarceration of Dasuki by the Federal Government poses serious threat to our democracy and it also shows the lack of integrity on the part of the government of the day.

The government has continuously proven that it would only submit itself to the judgments of the law courts that suits the whims and caprices of the President while acting against rulings that do not go in accordance with the wish of the President.

The continuous gross violations of court orders on the part of the executive arm of the government and the use of the instruments of the state to silence opposition raises serious questions of governance as we are gradually descending into dictatorship.

It is just so calamitous that our entire life has been swallowed up as a people in this frenzy and support for the Buhari administration, as to even justify the clampdown on the rights of the people by the government in a supposed democratic government birthed under the rule of law, human rights and freedom.

It is annoying and a collective insult on administration of justice and the rule of law for a Chief Law Officer of the Federation, a Senior Advocate of the Federation who is expected to be the defender and upholder of the Constitution and rights of the people to justify the continuous and unjust incarceration of Dasuki by stating that “reports have shown that there was massive mismanagement of funds meant for military hardware which the military could not access and that led to the death of many, embezzlement of the funds and because of that many people have lost their lives.

Obeying the court is not the issue per say.

Are we going to take the issue of an individual more important than that of the people?

The government’s main responsibility is for and about the people. The essence of governance is to better the lives of its people.

So, you have to weigh it based on that; the rights of an individual or the rights of the people.”

The above statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation does not only raise constitutional and democratic questions but portray our democracy in bad light and signal a greater danger to our existence as a people.

It is troubling that the rights of Nigerians are being seriously threatened under President Buhari as the ‘innocence of the accused’ is no more guaranteed making an accused to be automatically guilty of offence(s) levied against them.

Ironically, the major selling point of the re-elect Buhari Movement is in terms of the rule of law but it’s so embarrassing that Buhari flagrantly disobeys court orders and continuously act against the rule of law, which he swore to uphold in good faith.

It is noteworthy that Buhari was not under duress when he swore to an oath to discharge his duties in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which serves as the grundnorm on which the Nigerian society is built.

However, the continued disobedience to court orders to free an individual and the continued incarceration of El-Zakzaky and Abiri Jones both of which have been serially denied access to their family members, their lawyers without being charged to a law court cannot be justified in so far we are still operating constitutional democracy which makes the constitution superior.

It is so ridiculous that the elected representatives of the Nigerian people in the National Assembly are mute on the flagrant disobedience to court orders and the rule of law by the executive curiously the judiciary also appears weak and helpless in this ugly and sad scenario, which appears to be a serious misconduct and breach of the constitution.

The deafening silence of the Nigerian Bar Association on serious constitutional matters we are faced with is treacherous as they are expected to fight for the supremacy of the rule of law, obedience to court orders and respect for separation of powers.

President Buhari needs be told that corruption cannot be fought outside the cubicles of the rule of law and that illegality cannot be used to fight illegality when there is an existing process to be followed and strictly adhered to by those concerned.

Buhari must be made to understand that we are in a civilised and democratic society where no one reserves the right to set aside the basic institutional frameworks of government at his whims and caprices.

It is my utmost belief that the civil societies, the human rights communities, the students’ movement and the National Assembly should rise in defense of democracy that was fought for by the people.

We must always remember that it is a duty we owe this generation and generations unborn to bequeath to them better days so that they won’t see the present abnormalities as the norm.

Democracy cannot be nurtured on tyranny and dictatorship.

Olalekan is a political science student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

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