Alex Enumah in Abuja
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed the need for government agencies to abide by the rule of law and refrain from disobeying court orders and judgments.
The NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, gave the charge while reacting to the continued detention of the presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services (DSS) despite a court order for his release.
Ojukwu, in a statement made available to newsmen, said no individual
or institution should be allowed to toy with the judgment and decisions of the court, emphasising that “all court orders are binding
and must be respected by affected persons or institutions.”
In the statement signed by the Director Corporate Affairs and External Linkages, Lambert Oparah, the executive secretary remarked that the decent way to disagree with a court order is to appeal against same.
Ojukwu who frowned on Sowore’s continued detention noted that disobedience of court order is an invitation to uncertainty in the law.
He therefore called for the immediate release of Sowore in line with the order and in accordance with his bail conditions, if these have been met by his lawyers.
The rights of citizens, he said, must be protected and jealously guarded against any form of impunity, adding that it was an inherent obligation on the part of government agencies to guarantee these rights and further build citizens’ confidence.
Ojukwu further stated that there was an urgent need for all the arms of government to work together as their functions are mutually reinforcing.
He noted that failure of one arm to adequately carry out its statutory duties as laid down by the Constitution will impact negatively on the functioning of the government as a whole.
“The rule of law must be observed by all government institutions at all levels of governance.
“The strength of government is in its institutions and every efforts should be made to strengthen and not to undermine government institutions, to engender good governance and promote the rule and protect the rights of people,” he stressed.
The Executive Secretary stated that any party that is not satisfied with the ruling of the court has the right of appeal instead of resorting to self-help.
“Any disobedience of court order is an affront to democracy and rule of law which should not be condoned in any civilised society”, he said.