Femi Falana, human right activis,t has reacted to the petition by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to Mr. Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience to court rulings and orders.
The organisation, in a petition dated May 11, 2018 to the UN, lamented the Federal Government’s habit of picking and choosing court judgments to obey.
SERAP in its petition urged García-Sayán to use his good offices to prevail upon President Buhari to ensure the sanctity of the country’s constitution as well as respect for the country’s international obligations.
Reacting to the petition against Buhari’s government, Falana commended SERAP, describing disobedience of December 2, 2016 judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordering the release of El-Zakzaky as an act of impunity by the federal government.
Falana, speaking with Punch, noted that it was embarrassing that a government that promised to end impunity and with at least 12 of its cabinet members being lawyers, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, in the persons of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, could be treating court orders with “absolute disdain.”
He urged the Nigerian Bar Association to take up the challenge of fighting against the ugly trend.
According to him “It is a very commendable effort. Since the government has shown unprecedented contempt for our courts, the United Nations will have to intervene to remind the government of its obligation to operate under the rule of law.
“It is particularly embarrassing that the government that promised to end impunity would treat valid and subsisting court orders with absolute disdain.
“It is more embarrassing that there are no fewer than 12 lawyers, including the Vice-President and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria, in the government. It means two of the cabinet members are SANs.
“I do hope that the Nigerian Bar Association would take up the challenge. Under a military dictator, Nigerian lawyers, under the leadership of the late Comrade Alao Aka-Bashorun of blessed memory, boycotted courts to protest against government’s disobedience of court orders.”