A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says he has compiled a list containing 32 court orders which were disobeyed by the Nigerian government.
The Human rights advocate said this in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily. He also tasked members of Nigerian Bar Association of Nigeria (NBA) to rise up to their duties.
He added it is not the responsibility of a president or even an attorney general to handpick which court order to obey.
“In my latest compilation, I’ve compiled about 32 court orders being disobeyed flagrantly by the government of Nigeria which is not in line with the rule of law.
“It doesn’t lie in the mouth of an attorney general or the president of a country to choose and pick which orders of court to obey.
“When you do that, you are reducing the status of the country to a banana republic. And that is why the bar has to rise up now and take its rightful place,” he said.
Falana warned that unless proactive steps are taken, nobody will respect the rights of Nigerians because “there is no penalty for impunity in our country.”
During the interview, he added that Human Rights, the Democracy and Rule Of Law are not all taken seriously in Nigeria.
He blamed this on the NBA noting that it is stated clearly in the constitution of the NBA that human rights and the rule of law be defended.
“The official bar and the private bar have not taken the issue of human rights and democracy or even the rule of law seriously.
“We have a new human rights regime in our country on paper that can be compared with that of any civilised or advanced bourgeoise democracy
“For instance, under the current political dispensation, no Nigerian shall be detained in any detention center in Nigeria without an inspection, monthly inspection of the facility by a chief magistrate or a judge of the federal high court. In other words, you can no longer have indiscriminate arrest and detention,” he said.
The constitution provides that anybody who is arrested by the police shall be taken to court within 24 or 48 hours.
Falana said Nigerian lawyers should be burdened that illegal arrests occur on a daily basis in Nigeria.
The law, he said, provides that before you search or arrest a Nigerian, you must obtain a court order from a Federal High court.
“If you want to search his house, you obtain an order like a search warrant. If you want to seize his phone, you get an order, because your right to liberty, your right to the privacy of your home and correspondent are constitutionally entrenched.
“So, if you are going to violate any of those rights, you must obtain a court order. But what happens in Nigeria? You go and invade somebody’s house in the dead of the night, when you have kept him for few days, you suddenly realize ‘oh I need a court order’ then you rush to court. No, that’s not our law.”
Falana decried the situation when security officers raid communities and arrest people on the road for wandering, adding that the law on wandering has been “abolished as far back as 1989.”
He lamented that the poor and indigent people in Nigeria are on the receiving end and the only way Nigerian lawyers can stem this tide is to be armed with the law.