The Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, has strongly reprimanded President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday over the President’s now legendary serial disobedience of court orders. Justice Onnoghen reproached the President to his face at the opening session of the 2017 All Nigeria Judges’ conference
Justice Onnoghen told Buhari to learn from countries like Kenya and the United States where “Rule of Law in practice” was evident. He pointed out that in those two countries recently, their Presidents and government agencies clearly demonstrated the rule of law by respecting court decisions against the interest of the governments in power.
It will be recalled that the President Buhari-led government has been refusing to obey some court judgements and orders, especially the landmark judgement by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court Abuja a year ago, ordering the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN. Similarly several court orders that granted bail to the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd, have been disobeyed.
This bold move by the CJN was not the first time he was criticising the executive arm of government for blatantly disobeying court orders. During his Senate screening for confirmation as the substantive CJN, Justice Onnoghen severely rebuked the government for disregarding court rulings, saying it is an act of impunity that is threatening the independence of the judiciary.
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, had on May 29 also scored President Buhari’s administration low on respect for the rule of law, saying it was “appalled at the continued detention of certain individuals in blatant disobedience to court orders, in reference to the continued detention of Sheikh Zakzaky and Sambo Dasuki.