Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Senior Lawyers on Tuesday reacted to the Federal Government order for the release of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sabo Dasuki retd, and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoloye Sowore.
In his reaction, a constitutional lawyer and author, Chief Sabastine Hon (SAN), described the action as a welcome development.
He noted that the continued detention of these fellows and other political pridoners continues to be detestable, being actions taken in flagrant violation of court orders.
According to him, the axiom is that the Judiciary is the last hope of the common. Any person, government or institution that carries on as if they are a law unto themselves is headed for imminent self-immolation.
The rash of both local and foreign condemnation of government’s actions, no doubt, led to this impromptu order of release from custody. This is a welcome sign that the world is a global village, where physical boundaries become mere normative or nominal demarcations. Nigerians are suffering and groaning under the weight of the harshest economic policies and an extremely precarious security reality; but the government pretends not to be aware.
In such situations of abject poverty and exposure to avoidable security snares, open confrontation and conflagration are always ready alternatives for the restive citizenry. This is where we are today. Unfortunately, anybody who tells truth to power is labelled an enemy. But the truth cannot be suppressed forever. Now, all political prisoners should similarly be released. El Zak Zaki should also be released forthwith. Impunity, nepotism and abuse of power should cease from the seat of power. With these done, Nigeria, which is now a pariah nation, may bounce back to life.
His colleague at the inner Bar and Human Rights Activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) described the action of the Federal Government as salutary for democracy, respect for fundamental rights of citizens and observance of rule of law.
Ozekhome however called on Government to build on this air of freedom by stop tormenting innocent citizens.
“I am happy the government has finally realised its faux pas and is seeing the same light which I saw since 2015, when I kicked against the illegal incarceration of Dasuki. It is never too late to take corrective measures and make amends. There is nothing like something good happening at a bad time, or something bad happening at a good time. This government is beginning to see the importance of the rule of Law prevailing over rule of the thumb and over so called national security, which is an euphemism for security of a government in power. The government should add Elzakzaky to the list of detainees to be released, because the whole world, aside government apologists and grovellers, see all of them as political prisoners. Respect for rule of law and citizens’ fundamental rights constitute some of the key building blocks of democracy. Obedience to court orders, however distasteful, constitute the irreducible minimum of a civilised nation.
“The government should build on this fresh air of freedom to stop tormenting Nigerians with maximum fear and subjugation,making them discuss in whispers and walking sumnabulistically like Ayi Kwei Armah’s “the living dead. I thank Mr President. I commend the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, for this democratic gesture.”