By Innocent Anaba & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
The South-East based Coalition of Human Rights Organisations, SBCHROs, has called on the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, the umbrella body of lawyers in Nigeria and other rights groups in the country, to direct their members to boycott courts in Nigeria in protest over President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience to orders of courts.
Leaders of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Director, Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), former National Security Adviser, NSA, are still being held by the Department of State Security, DSS, despite being granted bail by courts of competent jurisdiction.
CSBHROs is comprised of Emeka Umeagbalasi of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety); Aloysius Attah Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO; Peter Onyegiri of Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, CHRPA; Samuel Njoku of Human Rights Club, HRC, (a project of LRRDC); Justus Ijeoma, of Forum for Justice, Equity and Defense of Human Rights, FJEDHR; Chike Umeh of Society Advocacy Watch Project, SPAW; Obianuju Igboeli of Anambra Human Rights Forum, AHRF; Alex Olisa of Southeast Good Governance Forum, SGGF; Jerry Chukwuokolo of International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative, ITERSOLIDARITY; Evlyn Eze of Street Law Africa, LawAfrica, and Tochukwu Ezeoke of Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group)
CSBHROs in a statement, said: “It is no longer a subject of 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 Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, and Senator Ali Ndume, Senate Majority Leader; rather all Nigerians, particularly the NBA and other democratic forces should concern themselves sleeplessly with how to rise up endlessly against the resurrected dictatorship and its destructive forces.
“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.
“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 Buhari to obey court orders and other judicial consequential pronouncements or resign or be impeached.
“This followed President Buhari’s blundered maiden media chat of December 30, 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 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 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 Buhari and his AGF.
“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.
“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.”