By Victor Ogunje
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights, Hon Opeyemi Bamidele, has said the release of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki and the leader of “RevolutionNow”, Omoyele Soworo, from detention has debunked the claim that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government is muzzling the judiciary.
The lawmaker, representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, stated that their release further corroborated President Muhammadu Buhari’s ardent belief in the judiciary as the bastion of democracy and the rule of law.
Dasuki, who had been detained since 2016 over his role in the $2.1 billion alleged missing funds under President Goodluck Jonathan and Sowore, incarcerated for spearheading a group called #Revolutionnow, were released by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday.
Applauding the federal government’s position on the issue, Bamidele, in a telephone conversation with newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, appealed to Nigerians not to capitalise on the mistake committed by the DSS to pass incendiary comments that could diminish the APC’s government’s enormous respect for the judicial arm.
Bamidele commended the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for acting promptly and gave the most apt advice that was in tandem with public opinion and agitations of Nigerians on the dragged and contentious issue.
“It is trite that the rule of law is the bedrock of any democracy. It is the fulcrum on which democracy hangs and survives and no nation can joke with it. APC was circumspect of this fact and had been aligning itself with this reality, both in actions and policies.
“The fact that President Buhari, through the instrumentality of the Attorney General, acted swiftly to correct the embarrassment caused by overzealous DSS operatives, who invaded a sitting court to arrest Sowore, vividly confirmed that the APC believes in the rule of law and the sanctity of the temple of justice.
“We are particularly elated by the FG’s gesture, because it will go a long way in further establishing the fact that Nigeria is not a pariah state. When leaders venerate the Judiciary, it deepens democracy and tames tendencies for anarchical actions that could truncate the system.
“It was in line with that tenet to strengthen judiciary and the rule of law that the FG, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation took over Sowore’s case from DSS and some other corruption cases from EFCC.
“I appeal to all the agencies of government vested with prosecutorial powers to always bury their emotions and exercise cautions while dealing with issues to protect the integrity of the Buhari-led government, whose respect for the judiciary had serially been demonstrated and amplified,” he said.
Bamidele promised that the National Assembly’s Committees on Judiciary in both chambers will continually engage the leadership and come up with the right amendments that could strengthen the judiciary and other institutions of government.
“The separation of powers is a strong condiments of democracy and that power must be protected and sustained.
“The National Assembly will continue to partner other arms of government to make our laws work and ensure that no one undermines the institutions of government, especially the judiciary, no matter how powerful, in the overall interest of our nation,” he said.