The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has told President Muhammadu Buhari, that the security of the country cannot be sacrificed on the altar of rule of law.
While declaring open the NBA Annual General Conference in Abuja, on August 26th, President Buhari, had, in his address, declared that rule of law should take second place when national security and national interest are threatened.
Many divergent views had trailed Buhari’s comment with many senior lawyers and well meaningful Nigerians disagreeing with the president.
At the closing ceremony of the conference yesterday, the NBA in a communiqué, rejected Buhari’s position.
In the communiqué, signed by the outgone president, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the NBA disassociated itself from the presidential declaration and condemned it outrightly.
Against the backdrop of Buhari’s statement, the NBA stated that the “Conference completely rejects the presidential statement subordinating the Rule of Law to National Security”.
“The NBA restates that the Rule of Law is central to a democracy and any national security concerns by the government must be managed within the perimeters and parameters of the Rule of Law”.
The NBA chided the present administration for disobeying some valid orders made by courts of competent jurisdictions in the country.
“As a corollary, conference frowns at the present growing trend whereby government decides on which court orders to obey” the communique stated.
“The court has exclusive duty under a democratic dispensation to interpret the Constitution and other laws, and government and the citizenry must comply with court orders at all times until set aside,” the NBA insisted.
More so, the NBA objected to the issuance of Executive Orders in respect to matters already in court and stated, “any such order is a breach of the principle of separation of powers”.
Rather, the communique counseled the Buhari administration that “Executive Orders are issued for good governance and to manage operations of government, and not to encroach or usurp the constitutional powers of other arms of government, lest Executive Orders become attempts at decree-making”.
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