Buhari’s Impeachment Of Sanctity & Independence Of Judiciary In Nigeria: A Call For Court Boycott By NBA & Ors
Southeast Based Coalition Of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)
(Onitsha Nigeria, 6th January 2016)-It is no longer a subject of grammatical, political, legal and public debate whether or not Nigeria of Buhari’s civilian presidency is tyrannical-cum-dictatorial; as the country is fully back in dictatorship or chained democracy. Nigerians should also not lose sleep or express surprises over recent or ongoing public antics and pro-dictatorial comments of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the likes of Prof Itse Sagay, SAN and Senator Ali Ndume, Senate Majority Leader; rather all Nigerians particularly the Nigerian Bar Association and other democratic forces should concern themselves sleeplessly with how to rise up endlessly against the resurrected dictatorship and its destructive forces.
It must be clearly understood by all Nigerians and members of the international community that most, if not all the political appointees under Buhari’s chained democratic government; both ministerial and non ministerial, were appointed for the purpose of promoting and protecting tyrannical policies and conducts of his administration. Apart from being beneficiaries of sectional lopsidedness and political settlements, the appointees were strictly scrutinized and tutored by the country’s secret police of Buhari’s armpit purse in the art of tyrannical policies and conducts. Most, if not all of them are also beneficiaries of Nigeria’s political woes of the recent past. In the country’s coercive establishments, blood thirsty senior officers and semi-cannibals were carefully selected and appointed into the headship of the country’s strategic security forces.
Totality of these is agents of tyranny or dictatorship. Other agents of tyranny working or sympathetic to the dictatorial government of Muhammadu Buhari can be found within the Nigerian Bar Association, the Southwest based Civil Society Organizations, the print, electronic and online media, mainly, if not mostly of Southwest section particularly those established with illicit or stolen public funds and owned by political profligates.
Our coordinating partner: Intersociety had severally argued expertly and seminally that the emergence of dictatorship or tyranny and its sustenance under a civilian administration, is not the sole activity of a dictator or tyrant; but a hatched conspiratorial project involving other dictatorial or tyrannical elements. It further observed that the first victims of dictatorship are the judiciary and the legislature, leading to instant death of rule of law, separation of powers and checks and balances.
According to Intersociety, where there are formidable and non conformist rights based CSOs and other members of the “attentive public” (media, religious bodies, occupational and professional bodies, etc); dictatorship meets its waterloo and irreparably nailed to coffin.
That is to say that the emergence of Buhari’s dictatorship in Nigeria has thrown up two forces of opposite direction; which can best be described as forces of change and forces of chains or forces of lightness and forces of darkness. The likes of AGF, Prof Sagay and Senator Ndume; by their dictatorial utterances, clearly represent the forces of darkness or deformity, while the upright CSOs and other democratic forces represent forces of lightness or change or reformism. It is also a case of thinkers versus tinkerers or reformers versus deformers or progressives versus retrogressives.
Further attestation to the existence of the two forces of opposite direction under the Buhari’s dictatorial presidency is the recent launch of online signature project spearheaded by a risen constitutional lawyer and Georgetown University law scholar, Ms Carol Ajie; for the purpose of compelling President Muhammadu Buhari to obey court orders and other judicial consequential pronouncements or resign or be impeached.
This followed President Buhari’s blundered and incoherent maiden media chat of 30th December 2015. The online petition signing, which has since exceeded its target; was met with a counter online petition project, launched by Buhari’s laptop activists and funded by the Presidency. While Counsel Carol Ajie’s online petition targets at protecting and preserving rule of law, constitutionalism and human rights in Nigeria; the Buhari Presidency’s sponsored online petition targets at protecting and preserving rule of lawlessness, un-constitutionalism and gross disrespect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In other words, the former represents agents of change while the latter represents chain agents. Counsel Carol Ajie’s advocacy step is deeply commendable, exemplary and emulative.
It further gladdens our heart to note the recent public position taken by the national leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) against the Buhari’s recent justification to his disobedience to court orders in Nigeria particularly as it concerns the duo of Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki. Its insistence that court orders and judgments must be obeyed and enforced to the letter in Nigeria by all authorities and persons; is a welcome development. In Section 287 (1) (2) (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the decisions of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal High Courts, High Courts of State and FCT and other subordinate courts, shall be obeyed and enforced in any part of Nigeria by all authorities and persons including President Muhammadu Buhari and his AGF.
It is also extremely important to note that the engine house of the national interest is executive obedience to court orders and protection and preservation of the citizens’ constitutional liberties. Justification of executive disobedience to court orders as a protection of national interest is abominable and impeachable. It is also a deliberate ploy to bend the law and impeach the 1999 Constitution. Disobedience to court decisions is one of the dimensions of corruption and a gross abuse of office; contrary to Section 15 (5) of the 1999 Constitution. The AGF utterances under reference are worse than his principal’s blundered and incoherent media chat.
Protection of public interest can never be equated with obvious presidential threats to citizens’ sovereignty; enshrined and entrenched in Section 14 (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution; to the effect that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority. The inflammable and defenseless utterances of the AGF are therefore not surprising; which explains why English Language professors also hold that liars use passive voice while truth tellers use active voice.
As we speak, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu has been detained by the DSS, on direct orders of President Buhari for a total of 83 days without substantive trial and bail release. All the four consequential court orders; ordering his unconditional release, among others, have been rapaciously flouted by President Buhari with impunity. In the alleged offenses of criminal conspiracy, among others brought against him by the DSS, he was unconstitutionally detained or held beyond constitutional deadline before being put on aborted trial. None of the three consequential orders granted by the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court was obeyed and he was never released on bail.
Even when the Magistrate Court re-ordered for his unconditional release following the abortion and discontinuation of his trial by the same DSS, he was never released. Again when the Federal High Court took notice of its erroneous and unconstitutional detention order granted to DSS and reversed itself and ordered that Citizen Kanu should be released unconditionally; President Buhari called and stopped the enforcement of the court order.
Till date, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu is not under any court remand in Nigeria and is presently held under President Buhari’s personal order. While Sections 293, 294 and 296 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act of 2015 forbid any authority or person other than Magistrate and High Court to detain any citizen beyond 24hrs or 48hrs without court remand for maximum of 28 days without trial; Section 35 (4) (a) of the 1999 Constitution further forbids detention of any citizen accused of committing offense of capital punishment (life jail or death sentence) for more than 60 days or two months without being released on bail or appropriately charged to court.
Till date, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu has been held incommunicado for a total of 83 days without released on bail or unconditionally, not even for an hour. His last arraignment and preferring of phantom charges of treasonable felony and four lesser others on 23rd December 2015 was aborted following his refusal to take plea; citing Buhari’s defenseless disobedience to other court orders. Till date, he is in custody under no court remand with his case file seized and possibly being doctored by the office of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. These are grievous violations of the provisions of the Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution.
Following the Intersociety’s mocked advice to President Muhammadu Buhari to construct two maximum security prisons in each of the country’s 774 Local Government Areas; totaling 1,548 maximum security prisons and ensure that average of 5,000 Nigerians are arrested and detained monthly; we wish to add that it is about time the NBA shut and grounded court proceedings; by way of country-wide court boycotts until President Muhammadu Buhari obeys all the subsisting court orders and signs an undertaking not to disobey decisions of the court in Nigeria anymore. That is to say that condemnation of the Presidency of Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari by NBA for flouting court decisions in Nigeria is not good enough. More proactive steps such as country-wide court boycotts are urgently needed to put the dictatorial policies and conducts of his Presidency to adequate checks.
It is also about time the respected legal body disbarred and suspended indefinitely any lawyer including any member of the silk that supports the dictatorial policies and conducts of the Buhari administration. It is abominable for NBA to fold its hands and watch the sanctity and independence of the judiciary being presidentially soiled, tainted and undermined with some of its errant members playing a leading role. If decisions of courts are no longer subject to strict obedience and enforcement at all times in any part of Nigeria; then NBA and the judiciary as well as Nigeria’s constitutional democracy are irreparably doomed.
Finally, we wish to joyfully and warmly congratulate the wife of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu; Uchechi, Nnamdi-Kanu for her healthy and safe delivery of a baby boy. Unto the family of lion-hearted men, another lion is born! This is a major setback for the Presidency of Buhari and its dictatorial associates which had last week sponsored wicked media falsehood and propaganda, saying “Citizen Nnamdi Kanu was caught in a hotel hibernating with a young lady”. The sole malicious intent was to cause death-in-pregnancy of Uchechi Kanu and his nine months unborn child and in-captivity divorce in Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s blessed marriage. To God Be The Glory All The Time!!
For: Coalition of Southeast Based Human Rights Organizations (CSBHROs):
- Emeka Umeagbalasi (+23474090052
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
- Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO)
- Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA)
- Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC)
- Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq.(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR)
- Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW)
- Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF)
- Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF)
- Jerry Chukwuokolo, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY)
- Evlyn Chinwe Eze, Esq. (+2347019646494)
For: Street Law Africa (LawAfrica)
- Tochukwu Ezeoke (IEI) (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group)