Ayo Adebanjo, an elder statesman, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw his statement that national security takes precedence over the rule of law.
While speaking at the 2018 annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, Buhari had said he would not sacrifice national security for the rule of law.
The president has been criticised over the comment.
Speaking during a meeting in Abuja, Adebanjo said the president’s comment is tantamount to rewriting the constitution.
“It is time to tell Mr. President that the statement he made that Sunday is treasonable; for you to rewrite the constitution (and say) that the rule of law is under the state security,” he said.
“The rule of law you are say is subject to national security and security of the state, who decides that, Mr. President? It will not work.
“We are going to demand from this meeting that he should withdraw that statement. That statement is very inappropriate and also amount to treason … to change the constitution of the whole country by the word of mouth. It is not right.
“When the leader of the nation tells you openly before lawyers and judges that he is rewriting the constitution of Nigeria, that the rule of law is subject to the security of the state and nation, the question is who decides the security of the state and nation?”
Adebanjo accused Buhari of clamping down on the opposition in the country as well as the fundamental rights of some Nigerians, particularly the freedom of expression.
“The man whom we are criticising is not taking it easy and is taking steps each day to silent opposition,” he said, adding: “If he takes Ayo Adebanjo today, Junaid you are not safe. Ango you are not safe the moment you criticise him. Junaid in particular you have to be careful because you are the one exposing his nepotism.”
Among those present at the meeting were Ango Abdullahi, Edwin Clark, Junaid Mohammed, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Olu Falae.