By Nwafor Sunday
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has on Thursday backed the Federal government for detaining the convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore and former National Security Adviser to the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki despite various court orders to release them.
Malami made this known at a programme titled ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ aired by a national television, (NTA), which Vanguard monitor.
Speaking at the programme, Malami said that Federal government did not default, noting that FG still has the right to detain Sowore and Dasuki until an appeal against the orders is determined by the Supreme Court.
His words, “Perhaps I need to clear the air on how the rule of law operates within the context of the Nigerian constitution. We have multiple and a plethora of judicial decisions that establishes a fact that when you are challenging a court order through a judicial process, the idea of disobedience to that court order does not arise.
“The misapprehension that set into the system and deliberately put in the public space is the fact that once there is a court order, you must unconditionally comply. You can only be adjudged being in disobedience of a court order when you don’t take advantage of the constitutional powers, rights accorded to you by appealing against the order and perhaps seeking for stay of execution of the order or perhaps you don’t take any steps seeking variation of the court order.
“So, in respect of those orders we are not comfortable with as a government, we go back to the court and have them challenged. Until that matter that your right of challenge, is determined up to the supreme court level, the idea of you being charged with disobedience of court order does not arise.”
Recall that a federal High court in Abuja had severally asked the Department of the State Service, DSS, to release the publisher of SaharaReporters, but the service refused.
The service noted the following as its reason:
“It has therefore become unarguable and raises a moral question as to who, between Sowore and the Service, dislikes or disobeys the courts. In this regard, public attention may be drawn to the 25th July 2019 statement of Sowore that: “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care.
“On December 5 when Sowore was released, he had, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country.
“It may be recalled that the Service had on 3rd December 2019 raised the alarm about a plot to destabilize the country. It is quite remarkable that the plot has already started playing out. To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organize an insurrection in the country. They have continued to falsely curry and mobilize international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends.
“For emphasis, it should be noted that Sowore is facing trial not as an activist, journalist or a politician, but for his resort to call for violence, forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities. It is most unfortunate that Sowore, shortly after being released from custody, based on court order, resorted to acts inimical to security. To this effect, only Sowore has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was not picked up even when Falana had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him.
“Though sections of the populace have been fed with spurious narratives about these developments, Nigerians and the international community should not be gullible or even vulnerable to the machinations of groups desirous of misleading them.
“The Service is committed to the discharge of its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of Nigeria. It supports democracy in the country and will do all that is legal to protect it. It will also ensure that efforts of anti-democratic forces are frustrated.”