- Femi Falana, a renowned lawyer, has cried out over what he described as continuous disobedience to court orders by top judges in the country
- Falana made direct reference to the refusal of the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, to release the ex-national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki from custody
- He also said that the current administration should lead by example since President Muhammadu Buhari is the current chairman of ECOWAS
Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has written an open letter to the acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), urging him to stop what he describes as flagrant disobedience to court orders.
Falana, in a letter titled, Request to end disobedience of court orders by all authorities and persons, said the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), continues to promote the disobedience to court orders, Punch reports.
The human rights activist said he was laid back by Malami’s refusal to release a former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and several others despite court orders.
Falana said: “It is common knowledge that the AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said that Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.); Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky; and his wife, Hajia Zenab Elzakzaky, would not be released from custody in defiance of the valid and subsisting orders of municipal and regional courts.
“While the attention of the print and electronic media has been focused on the three privileged citizens, it is hardly realised that there are many other common people who are languishing in custody due to official disobedience of the orders of courts which have set them free.
“And since judgment creditors are prohibited from levying execution on the funds belonging to the government without the fiat of the AGF, the Federal Government and the various state governments usually refuse to authorise the payment of damages running to several billions of naira awarded by courts in favour of many citizens and institutions.”
Falana said the alleged decision of the federal government to disobey court orders reminds Nigerians of the dark military era where persons deemed enemies of the state were detained for years without regard for human life and rights.
He stated that he was similarly detained by the military regime in 1985 for defending Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
Falana added that despite the treatment meted out to him, he was among those who demanded the then head of states' release when the latter was also detained for three years by General Ibrahim Babangida.
He further said: “But notwithstanding the illegality of my detention and the fact that it was Gen. Buhari that had promulgated the decree, I was able to convince my colleagues in the human rights community to demand his release and that of his deputy, the late General Tunde Idiagbon from detention.
“It is on record that based on our intervention, the Ibrahim Babangida junta released the duo after three years of detention without trial.”
He remarked that now that President Buhari is the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the current administration should lead by example by adhering to the provisions of a truly democratic government.
“We urge Your Excellency to take urgent and decisive measures to put an end to the disobedience to court orders by many public officers and institutions. Since section 287 of the constitution has imposed a binding obligation on all authorities and persons in Nigeria to comply with the decisions of competent courts, public officers who subvert the rule of law ought to be sanctioned.
“Furthermore, in view of the fact that President Buhari is the current chairman of ECOWAS, the Federal Government should show leadership by example by complying with all the judgments of the regional courts without any further delay”, he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Falana was planning to institute a court case against Malami and the state attorney generals to prosecute all the merchants of death in the country and bring them to justice.
Falana revealed his plan when he spoke during the third annual registry lecture series held at Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, in Ondo state, on the theme: University Autonomy in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges.
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