Obey Nigerian Courts Like You Obey British Courts, Falana Tells FG

Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has accused the federal government of disobeying valid court orders in Nigeria while it complies with orders from the United Kingdom.

Granting a stay of execution for a $9.6 billion judgment awarded against Nigeria in favour of Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, Christopher Butcher, judge of a commercial court in London, had ordered that Nigeria deposit $200 million.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,  said a $200 million bond deposit had been made following the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a letter to Malami yesterday, Falana said the federal government did not give any precondition before obeying the court of its “former colonial master” as it does at home.

The senior lawyer asked the federal government to comply with court orders and release Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement.

“It is however disturbing to note notwithstanding such deference to the courts of its former colonial master the federal government has continued to disobey the valid and subsisting orders of Nigerian courts and the court of justice of the Economic Court of West African States including orders for the release of political detainees and criminal suspects from unlawful custody,” Falana said.

“For instance, the State Security Service has continued to detain our clients, Messrs Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, in defiance of the order of the federal high court which has admitted them to bail pending trial.

“In treating the court order with provocative contempt the State Security Service has insisted on approving the sureties of our clients after they have been verified by the federal high court. From the information at our disposal, there is no precedent whatsoever for the illegal demand.

“Instead of purging the security agency of such contempt of the federal high court, the prosecutor, Dr. Hassan Liman SAN, engaged by your good self to prosecute our clients, has curiously applied to the trial court to have them transferred to a correctional centre and detained indefinitely for having the temerity to question the illegal directive to produce their sureties.

“In view of the fact that the federal government has never given any precondition before complying with the orders of the British court in the case of P&ID and other matters we are compelled to request you to direct the State Security Service to comply with the orders of the federal high court for the unconditional release of our clients.”