Nigeria’s chief law officer, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Abubakar Malami has explained why the federal government will not be obeying the court order last Tuesday ordering it to release former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Retd). It is the sixth time that Dasuki has been ordered released by the courts.
Malami told Voice of America in an interview published in an online newspaper, Premium Times: “What I want you to know is that issues concerning law and order under Muhammadu Buhari are sacrosanct and obeying court order is compulsory.
“However you should also know that there is a general consensus world over that where the dispute is only between individuals, then you can consider the issue based on the instant situation. But if the dispute is about an issue that affects an entire nation, then you have to remember that government is about the people not for only an individual.
“So, you have to look at it from this perspective. If the issue about an individual coincides with that which affects the people of a nation and you are now saying the government did not obey a court order that infringes on a single person’s rights. Remember we are talking about a person who was instrumental to the deaths of over 100,000 people. Are you saying that the right of one person is more important than that of 100,000 who lost their lives?
“Reports have shown that there was massive mismanagement of funds meant for military hardware which the military could not access and that led to the death of many, embezzlement of the fund and because of that many people have lost their lives. Obeying the court is not the issue per se
“Are we going to take the issue of an individual more important than that of the people? The government’s main responsibility is for and about the people. The essence of governance is to better the lives of its people. So you have to weigh it based on that; the rights of an individual or the rights of the people.”
Reacting, Constitutional and Rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome SAN, said, “The Muhammadu Buhari government has again simply refused to obey the 6th bail order granted by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered the federal government to release Col. Sambo Dasuki who has been detained since December, 2015.
“For the records, this is the 6th court order, including ECOWAS’ release order, which this government has blatantly refused to obey.
“This is simply a government given to unparalleled impunity and executive lawlessness. And it does it so unabashedly and audaciously, believing that it possesses all the apparatchik of coercion and life and death over Nigerians.”