Femi Falana SAN, a human rights lawyer, has challenged the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to stop what he termed the flagrant disobedience to court orders which has characterised the current administration. He made the call while expressing disappointment at the refusal of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF Abubakar Malami to obey court orders and release former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzakky, among others.
In a letter entitled, ‘Request to end disobedience of court orders by all authorities and persons’, Falana said, “It is common knowledge that the AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said that Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.); Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky; and his wife, Hajia Zenab Elzakzaky, would not be released from custody in defiance of the valid and subsisting orders of municipal and regional courts. “While the attention of the print and electronic media has been focused on the three privileged citizens, it is hardly realised that 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.
“And since judgment creditors are prohibited from levying execution on the funds belonging to the government without the fiat of the AGF, the Federal Government and the various state governments usually refuse to authorise the payment of damages running to several billions of naira awarded by courts in favour of many citizens and institutions. “But notwithstanding the illegality of my detention and the fact that it was Gen. Buhari that had promulgated the decree, I was able to convince my colleagues in the human rights community to demand his release and that of his deputy, the late General Tunde Idiagbon from detention.
“It is on record that based on our intervention, the Ibrahim Babangida junta released the duo after three years of detention without trial. “We urge Your Excellency to take urgent and decisive measures to put an end to the disobedience to 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. “Furthermore, in view of the fact that President Buhari is the current chairman of ECOWAS, the Federal Government should show leadership by example by complying with all the judgments of the regional courts without any further delay.”