Thursday, 8 June 2017

National Security: President Buhari’s Excuse for Disobeying Court Orders? - Dr Perry Brimah

The President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has said through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that several court orders disobeyed by the administration so far “were in national security interest.”

As Mohammed shockingly declared, “As a government, I will balance national security against human rights; and then I will take a decision. Because (when) there is security, there is stability, that the courts also exist. What I am saying (is) that the court has ruled but the court does not have the entire picture when it comes to national security.”

Bewilderingly, the Buhari government continues to openly display a “God complex.”

What if former President Goodluck Jonathan had refused to hand over to Buhari when he won the 2015 presidential election, with the excuse that the handover would constitute a risk to national security as supported by information only the government was privy to?

The actions and public defence of them by the Buhari government constitute a grave danger to Nigeria and serious reason to worry. In 2019, in the event that another party wins Nigeria’s presidential election, will the Buhari government that flouts court orders with relish hand over? Will this government not continue its disregard of the law under the excuse of “national security interests?”

The United States President Donald Trump is today appealing over-rulings of executive decisions on his proposed “Muslim ban” by the courts, yet though Trump argues that the ban is in the best national security interest, he does not go above the law. This is the A B C of democracy. No individual or government official is above the law. Acting above the law irreparably destroys the judicial system and is in itself an act that is a grave risk to national security. It is the law and courts that guarantee and protect the security of individuals and the state.

The information minister would have immediately been removed had he been a government official in the US and made such a statement.

We must however commend the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), for being upright and advising the Buhari government to obey the law with regard to the courts’ decisions on the former National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki and Sheikh El-Zakzaky of the Shiites Movement.

It is surprising and disheartening that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is presiding over the affairs of the nation in a time like this and involved in the flouting of court orders in what constitutes potentially grave crimes against humanity.

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, last week visited Nigeria and met with Acting President Osinbajo. She also met with representatives of, and alleged victims of Rome Statute human right violations in Nigeria including pro-Biafran protesters and Islamic movement members who have all been reportedly involved in security agencies’ massacres and mass burial cover-up attempts.

It beats the imagination that Osinbajo who understands the legal and moral implications of the violations of the Buhari government continues along this most dangerous path that appears to be only in the interest of the ruling party security.

The utterance, “If they violate again the dog and baboon will be soaked in the same blood,” comes to mind as the frustrations of citizens when they feel the government abuses processes. We are thankful that those violated under this administration have been of the peaceful kind and not in any way attempted to get anyone soaked in the same blood.

We demand change. The Federal Government must obey the courts. No one is above the law.

Written by: Dr. Perry Brimah, National Coordinator, Every Nigerian coalition


Culled from: Punch Newspaper

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