Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has asked Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to take urgent and decisive measures to put an end to the disobedience of court orders by public officers and institutions.
In a letter dated August 14, the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) told the acting president that the duty of every government is to defend the rule of law to ensure that court orders are complied with by all authorities and persons
He said it is common knowledge that Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, has made it known that Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and his wife will not be released from custody in defiance of court orders.
Falana added that though the attention of the media had been more focused on the three privileged citizens, there are many other “common people” who are languishing in custody due to official disobedience of the orders of courts which have set them free.
He maintained that even though activists like him were detained during the military era, there was not a single case where the order of a court for the release of any detainee was ignored.
“Since democratic rule was restored in Nigeria in May 1999, members of the ruling class have continued to treat court orders with contempt due to lack of understanding of the essence of the rule of law in a liberal democratic dispensation,” the letter read.
“Your excellency, as you are no doubt aware, disobedience of court orders is not uncommon in some other democratic countries. But it is the duty of every government which is committed to the defense of the rule of law to ensure that court orders are complied with by all authorities and persons.
“In the light of the foregoing, we urge your excellency to take urgent and decisive measures to put an end to the disobedience of court orders by many public officers and institutions.
“Since section 287 of the constitution has imposed a binding obligation on all authorities and persons in Nigeria to comply with the decisions of competent courts, public officers who subvert the rule of law ought to be sanctioned.”