By Festus Ogun
The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said he deliberately disobeyed some court orders in the interest of the public, when undergoing ministerial screening at the floor of the Senate yesterday.
He argued that he disobeyed court orders out of his duty to protect the overall rights of Nigerians which overrides the need to respect individual liberties. He cited the popular case of Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Asari Dokubo.
Once again, the learned silk has goofed and twisted the law to the benefit of his principal, an unrepentant tyrant. The case of Asari Dokubo doesn’t justify disrespect to court orders in any guise.
Last year, I published in the Guardian newspaper an analysis on this particular subject matter titled: Rule of law versus national security: What the law says. Read here: https://m.guardian.ng/features/law/rule-of-law-versus-national-security-what-the-law-says/
The wrong and unconstitutional notion held by Malami is dangerous to our democracy.
It is disappointing to see a learned silk of many years rationalise the disrespect of court orders on baseless grounds — itself, an affront to the cardinal principles of rule of law. It is not just an insult to the bar, it is also a slap on the battered face of our judiciary.
Sadly, it is a crying shame that the rubber-stamp Senate also ordered him to do the ‘take a bow’ ritual. Elsewhere, that alone will warrant his rejection. You come to the floor of the Senate to justify lawlessness and arbitrariness? Such insolence on the people of Nigeria.
Well, we should be prepared for the worse under this Senate. It will be worthless to argue that this Senate has no mind of its own. The truth, however, is no nation can witness real progress if the executive has in its pocket, the legislature. We are not saying the two arms should be at loggerheads. No. The position is: the legislature must be insulated from the influence and control of the executives. It cannot afford to always dance to the tune of the executive at the expense of the downtrodden masses.
If Malami should be considered for any ministerial position at all, he shouldn’t be in charge of the Justice ministry.
▪ Ogun is a human rights activist and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org