NBA Rejects Buhari’s Statement on Rule of Law to National Security,demands obedience to court orders

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, had while declaring the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)opened said the security of the country cannot be sacrificed on the altar of the Rule of Law where national interest is threatened.

The association has reject the presidential statement subordinating the Rule of Law to National Security.

The association also objected to the issuance of Presidential Executive Orders in respect to matters already in court, adding that, Executive Orders can be issued for good governance and to manage operations of government, and not to encroach or usurp upon the constitutional powers of other arms of government.

The NBA restated, in a communique made available to newsmen on Friday at the end of its conference that the Rule of Law is central to a democracy and any National Security concerns and that the government must be managed within the perimeters and parameters of the Rule of Law.

The NBA conference, which acknowledged the importance of a highly professional police force in a democratic dispensation, called on the federal government to adequately fund, equip and improve the welfare of the officers and men of the Nigerian Police.

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It also urged government to give serious consideration to calls for the creation of states Police with safeguards to prevent abuse, this way, the association said, law and order will be more effective in the country

According to Nigerian Tribune,the association also objected to the issuance of Presidential Executive Orders in respect to matters already in court, adding that, Executive Orders can be issued for good governance and to manage operations of government, and not to encroach or usurp upon the constitutional powers of other arms of government.

While noting that democracy can be better strengthened by an independent judiciary, the NBA called for a budgetary arrangement that will allow funds to be directly allocated to the judiciary at Federal and State levels.

The President’s comment had attracted condemnations by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and other prominent Nigerians.

As a way of institutionalising higher standards for transformational leadership in the country, the association called for new laws to set higher standards of academic qualifications for political office holders in Nigeria.

The communique which was signed by Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) and Abiola Olagunju, the immediate past President and General Secretary of the NBA also made case for mutual respect between the Executive and Legislative arms of government for sustainable development.

“In this regard, public interest must be enthroned as a central pivot of governance, and the current bickering must be reduced to the barest minimum,” it said.

For rapid transformation of the economy, the NBA charged the federal government to approach poverty alleviation through wealth creation, industrialisation, provision of finance to small and medium enterprises and social welfare schemes.

“The Nigerian budget should be investment-driven with more reliance placed on local production and entrepreneurship while States should commit to supporting credit facilities to improve the provision of funds at the state level.

The NBA also advocated for speedy passage of the bill on persons with disability, and gender equality presently before the National Assembly, establishment of committees and task forces to promote diversity and inclusion at all levels in Nigeria and to render continuous support for empowerment of women and urges employers to take steps to make the workplace more gender friendly.

The conference, with the theme, “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions,” which started on 26th of August and ended on the 30th Day of August 2018 had had over 10,000 registered delegates and invited guests.

The communique read in part, “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.

“As a corollary, conference frowns upon the present growing trend whereby government decides on which court orders to obey.

“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 communique also addressed various topical national issues bordering on the economy and the judiciary.

While calling for a budgetary arrangement that allows for funds to be directly allocated to the judiciary at federal and state levels in order to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, the association rejected the Federal Government’s Executive Order Six, which directs prosecuting and investigating agencies to take steps to ensure assets linked to pending criminal cases are temporarily forfeited.

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