By Oji Odu
Is former National Security Adviser, Col.Sambo Dasuki (rtd) right by disobeying court orders on the grounds that he will only do that when the Federal Government turns a new leaf and starts obeying court orders and judgements? Is he above the law? What interests is he representing in such boldness against the might of the Federal Government that had incarcerated him all these years? Why now, about three months to the 2019 general election?
Has the Federal Government on the other hand which swore to an oath to defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at inception of office, and which has exhibited notoriety in flagrantly disobeying court orders the moral justification to compel Dasuki or any Nigerian to obey court orders? The product of this pathetic precedence is gradually raising a monster that may mar this great nation if urgent measures are not taken.
Dasuki had in a strongly-worded letter dated November 12, 2018, which he personally signed and addressed to the Registrar of the Federal High Court Abuja, vowed to boycott any proceeding for his trial, “since the Federal Government has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it would not obey any order of the court even if it is in his favour.”
Following previously perfected bails granted him by five different judges of high courts including Justices Ademola Adeniyi, Justice Ahmed Mohammed and Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja Federal High Court and Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf and Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Courts which the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari disregarded, and the fact that the ECOWAS Court of Justice also ordered his immediate release from detention, which was also rejected, he saw no reason why he should not boycott any proceedings of his trial.
“Prevailing circumstances have prompted me to write this letter to the court, the hope of every Nigerian citizens. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the current administration has so much interference with the judicial system, such that it has become practically impossible for the Court to maintain her independence, the administration of justice. My plight is of common Knowledge.”
“…….I am very much apprehensive about the President’s (Buhari) statement, in that my rights will continually be violated and that no order for my release will be honoured by the Federal Government of Nigeria or any of its agencies.
“In reaction to my the judgement of the court enforcing my fundamental human right, an embarrassing statement was credited to Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, the current Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on 13 July 2018 after the bail conditions have been met, including the deposit of N1,000,000 with the Registrar of the Federal High Court, stated that irrespective of the judgment directing the said release, the Federal Government would not comply,” he said.
With a seeming inclination not to obey court orders, the former NSA belived that it was ironical that the same government would use the same court to prosecute him freely and fairly. “At this point, I strongly believe that there must be an end to this hypocrisy and lopsided/ partisan rule of law.
“Since the Federal Government has resolved not to comply with judicial Orders directing my release, it is better for the Court to also absolve me of the need to submit myself for further prosecution. Justice should be evenly dispensed, as opposed to same, being in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he added.
At the resumption of the trial before Justice Ahmed Rahmat Mohammed, Counsel to Federal Government, Dipo Opeseyi, told the court that Dasuki had deliberately refused to come to court because of his anger on certain steps taking by the government against him.
But Justice Muhammad directed the prosecution to always depose to an affidavit of evidence whenever the former NSA declined to come to court. The Judge who said he had not formerly received Dasuki’s letter however adjourned further trial till November 19, 2019.
Dasuki’s stance has raised fears of the kind of anarchy the nation is heading towards if care is not taken. This is because with non independence of the judiciary, flagrant disregard of court orders, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will just be a mere paper work, and Nigerians will be left with no option than self help and uprising.
In a chat with The source, Anaba James, a political analyst said: “ There is more to this than meets the eye. I mean this challenge from a person who has been in detention by the powers that be although he is a blue blood.
“ Although his cards on the table are genuine, but they spell a rise in self help, challenge against the authorities, which can lead the country to anarchy. The myriads of security threats-Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery et cetera have already crippled the country. If this is allowed to continue would spell doom.
Unyio Ekwo sees it as the quest for Aso Rock in 2019. She believes that with the touch of the Northern royalty and Oligarchy, this administration has touched the Lion’s tail. “ This administration murdered sleep when it detained Dasuki, a Northern Prince, and refused to release him even after courts had granted him bail. Read in- between the lines, this administration has more to contend with to remain on the saddle after 2019 general election,” she stated.
For Solomon Dimabo, a lawyer, Dasuki’s action is timely and sensitive. That is why the federal government will have to treat it carefully or set the nation on fire. : “Nobody has the right to flout court orders, whether Dasuki or government. For Dasuki to make the stand against government means that he has a very strong support base.
“ Unfortunately, the bug of Federal Government’s seed of flagrant disobedience to court orders and judgements had eaten deep in the society that the other tiers of government have joined in the disobedience, and now individuals. It’s pathetic and does not spell good for our nascent democracy,” he said.
What does Dasuki really want although he seems to be speaking for most Nigerians? What do the interests he may be representing really want? Will the Federal Government cave in and adjust? The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and associate unions are not yet through with the N30,000 minimum wage issue of implementation, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are on strike over education funding, now it is the Dasuki challenge. Who will be next as pressure mounts on Federal Government, with about three months to the 2019 general election. “ It’s rather unfortunate that this is the only time government is forced to be for the people,” Dimabo added.