I Have Compiled 32 Court Orders Being Disobeyed By Nigerian Govt – Falana

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.”

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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.

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose’s Accounts

Court Orders Immediate De-freezing of Governor Fayose's AccountsA Federal High court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to lift the restriction placed on some accounts belonging to Governor Ayodele Fayose in Zenith Bank.

The court also set aside an earlier order of a Federal High court, Lagos empowering the EFCC to freeze two accounts domiciled in the new generation bank.

The court has consequently ordered the EFCC to immediately defreeze the two accounts belonging to the governor without further delay, on the account that the anti-graft agency did not follow due process in confiscating them.

Delivering his judgement, the presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, said the rights of the governor had been unconstitutionally infringed upon, considering the circumstance of his office.

Justice Taiwo declared that apart from the immunity which Mr Fayose currently enjoyed as a sitting governor under section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong for the EFCC to have gone ahead to seize his two accounts in apparent perpetuity without first investigating him or making him a party.

He averred that rather than the EFCC freezing the governor’s accounts directly through the third party who did not enjoy any mandate from him, the governor himself ought to have been first investigated and brought into the picture.

The judge described Fayose as “a genuinely deprived person who rushed to the court to seek constitutional protection”.

The judge thereby gave a mandatory order the de-freezing, unblocking and making operational the two accounts by the respondents.

He said it was also the duty of any presiding judge to protect the said constitution and its interpretations whenever the need arises.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to be heard before his property or money can be seized, doing otherwise will amount to denying him fair hearing and constitutional rights”, he said.

The judge however refused to grant other relief sought by the governor, including a perpetual injunction restraining EFCC or its agents from further tampering with his property, and another one asking for payment of N5billion as exemplary damages.

“This court will not shield any person from due investigation and since Police cannot be stopped from investigating a crime, same goes for the First Respondent so as not to whittle down its functions”, the judge said.

EFCC lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo was absent at the court but Fayose’s lead counsel, Ozekhome, in his reaction described the judgment as the best to be so made the EFCC in history, saying it would checkmate the agency against years of brazen arbitrariness and excesses.

The EFCC had on June 21, 2016 confiscated the two accounts having allegedly contained a sum of N2.99billion out of the N2.3 billion arms money allegedly drawn by the governor from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.

Fayose through his lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome approached the court and sought for the enforcement of his fundamental rights, which involved the de-freezing of the two accounts.

Court Orders EFCC To Release Bala Mohammed On Bail

Court Orders EFCC To Release Bala Mohammed On BailJustice Baba Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court 4, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to release the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed on bail.

The erstwhile Minister had been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since October 24, 2016 when he honoured the invitation of commission.

The Court granted him bail with two sureties who must have landed property within the Abuja Municipality with Certificate of Occupancy.

In granting the application for bail filed by the lead counsel to Mr Mohammed, Chris Uche, the High Court took a swipe at the EFCC for manifesting contradictions and for lying under oath with the depositions in the counter affidavit it filed challenging the bail application.

The court adjourned the matter till December 14, 2016 for the hearing of the substantive suit for the enforcement of the fundamentalist rights of the former minister.