Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Friday joined eminent lawyers and activists in the country to condemn President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement on the Rule of Law, stating that government must strive to manage its security concerns within the Rule of Law.
Similarly, the NBA has expressed concern over the refusal of President Buhari to accent to the Petroleum and Gas Bill, stating that the action is a major setback in the efforts to sanitise the Oil and Gas industry.
Buhari had while declaring open the 58 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sunday in Abuja, said that, “Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest”, adding that, “where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society”.
But the NBA in a communiqué read by the immediate past President, Abubakar Mahmoud, said the conference was in disagreement with Buhari on his position on the rule of law.
Mahmoud said, “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.
Outside Buhari’s statement on the Rule of Law, the NBA also expressed disappointment over a lot of issues in the polity including, disobedience to Court Orders and the new Executive Order by the Buhari administration.
Mahmoud said, “Conference frowns at the present growing trend whereby government decides on which court order 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.
“Conference emphatically objects to the issuance of Executive Orders in respect to matters already in court and observes that any such order is a breach of the principle of separation of powers; and counsels that Executive Orders be 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”.