El-Zakzaky and the Rule of Law


The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday ordered the release of the leader of the Shi’a Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, but many doubted if the court order would be obeyed. The signature tactic of the current government, particularly, on security related matters has been the disobedience of court orders that do not support its position.

About 12 months ago, the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the Department of State Service to immediately release the director of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, saying his continued detention was unlawful. But DSS disobeyed the order until December 1, when a judge of the same court gave a verdict that favoured the position of government. Such has also been the fate of the detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

So, unsurprisingly, the country is rife with doubt about the possibility of El-Zakzaky’s release.
Government should realise that crime cannot be fought on a whim. It takes the rule of law to effectively and acceptably fight crime. Selective obedience of court rulings or application of the law can only beget corruption and more crime. And anybody can be the victim any time. – Vincent Obia