• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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The Judicial Integrity Lawyers (JILAW), a group of over 250 constitutional and human rights lawyers, has called on the National Judicial Council to direct all courts not to entertain any case brought before them by any agency of the government that disobeys court orders.

JILAW particularly said the directive should apply to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) until the commission’s Chairman AbdulRasheed Bawa purged himself by obeying all subsisting court orders binding on him.

The call was made at the post-annual conference press briefing of JILAW.

The group said as an official whose conviction was made by an order of a Court or Courts of competent jurisdiction, it does not consider Bawa fit to continue presiding over the affairs of a law enforcement agency, especially one constitutionally set up to fight corruption.

“You cannot use the corrupting influence of power to enforce anti-corruption laws. We consider it a ridiculous aberration that a convict would be in charge of getting others convicted when he should be serving time for contempt of Court and when there has been no superior judgement against the conviction,” the lawyers said.

They urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, within the limited time left in the life of his administration, urgently address the dangerous culture of disobedience to the rule of law, assault on our Judiciary and ultimately ensure appropriate sanctions for the violators of the dictates of our constitution.

Read also: Kwara: EFCC parades suspects of electoral misconduct

JILAW advised politicians against sponsoring crises across the nation to demonstrate their grievance as sponsoring post election crisis will negate the supremacy clause of our constitution as stated in section 1(2) of the 1999 constitution.

“Rather, every aggrieved individual or groups of individuals who which to govern Nigeria or any part thereof should give total consideration to Section 1(2) of the 1999 Constitution and anything to the contrary will amount to subversion of the supreme law of the land. Thus any aggrieved individual should seek judicial redress as enshrined in the constitution.

“The worrisome trend of disobedience of court orders by officials saddled with the responsibility of piloting the affairs of the nation at different levels was also discussed at our meeting.

“The Nigerian Constitution is the fon est origo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our legal system and the foundation of its government. To this end, its provisions are believed to be sacred and binding on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We believe, that the persistent abuse of power by public officials in Nigeria is an aberration which has attained notoriety as part of the fabric of our society. We wish to state that equality before the law is the only true protection against the spectre of oppression and undue influence that those in positions of authority would otherwise dangle over the heads of ordinary Nigerians.

“You will recall that it took the direct intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to obey a lawful judgment of the Supreme Court, the highest Court in the land, on the naira redesign policy of the CBN. This was after the flagrant disobedience to the preliminary judgement of the same Supreme Court before the presidential elections were held.

“Even now, our meeting agreed that the Federal Government has not fully complied with the judgement with regard to other aspects of the policy, which has continued to put Nigerians through untold hardship.

“Another disturbing example of one of those institutions that have become notorious for totally disregarding the sanctity of our Courts and continuously infringing on the human rights of citizens, is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The implications of the continued disregard for Nigeria’s Judiciary and disobedience to our laws, are beyond individual victims or the integrity of these agencies. Both at home and abroad, this badge of shame stains our collective national consciousness and makes a daily mockery of Nigerian laws,” the group added.