Thursday, December 31, 2015
PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI MEDIA CHAT, CONFOUNDED.
“If you know the atrocities committed by the people granted bail then you’d understand.” - President Muhammadu Buhari, on why he will not or has rather refused to obey valid courts' ruling granting bail to Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki.
Icheoku says the president was indeed very obfuscatory in many of his answers and did not give any tangible reason, because none exist, for his continuing detention of the two accused persons and not obeying valid orders of courts, which granted them bail. There is nothing to understand as the president has no leeway in this matter; his is to comply with the courts orders and by not doing so is risking Nigeria's democracy which is built on the pedestal of rule of law. So what if the two accused persons has potential and/or probability to jump bail, it is not the president's nor his executive branch of the government to so determine and then decide therefore to keep them in detention post bail.
In a functioning society, the prosecution's duty is to establish that a risk of jumping bail by an accused person exists and accordingly convince the court not to grant bail. The court will therefore weigh the exposed risk of granting such bail and then determine if bail could still be granted and under what conditions. A court, so decided, will then put conditions of bail as will be commensurate with the charged crime and as would ensure and compel the accused person to show up at trial. Whether or not to grant bail and to stiffen bail conditions accordingly is the utter prerogative of the court. What the president and his executive branch of government has to do is to charge the accused to court and prove their case at trial; but not to in anyway conduct the adjudication proceedings, including bail themselves. It is not their forte to determine or decide which accused is likely to jump bail and then summarily and illegally keep such accused person in indefinite detention; especially post bail.
But unfortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari does not grasp this nuanced dictates of separation of powers between the three arms of government - executive, legislature and judiciary. A matter made worse because his Vice President Osibanjo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is there to advise and help walk the president through the sometimes confusing maze of law, but he choose to not disturb the groove and he is a lawyer? Now the president is breaking the law by disobeying the law - several valid orders of courts of competent jurisdiction which he refused to obey. By continuing to disobey valid courts orders, the president has assumed the toga of a law breaker himself who needs to be arrested and prosecuted for breaking the law. Icheoku says why the Nigeria Bar Association is keeping mum, as well as the other several noise-makers of Nigeria who masquerade themselves as human rights advocates and defenders of the constitution over this continued infringement by the president is indeed mind numbing.
Once a court of competent jurisdiction have reviewed an application for bail and determined a case to be bailable and grants bail, the president or his executive minders have no option but to comply with the order setting the accused temporarily free until the final resolution of the case. The reason why bail is conditioned on terms is to ensure the attendance of the accused person through trial; failing which the bail bond is forfeited and if there are human surety, they are hauled into custody until they produce the accused person. This is how the legal system in a functional democracy works and Nigeria is supposedly in a democracy; and should not pivot from this fundamental rights of citizens not to be unduly incarcerated pending the determination of their guilt or lack thereof.
Icheoku therefore says that President Muhammadu Buhari was wrong when he assumed the roles of a prosecutor and judge and executioner in this matter. The president has no right whatsoever to decide not to obey valid courts orders on bail of the two accused persons simply because he considers them flight risk, regardless of the gravity of their alleged or charged crimes. The president and his security agencies can keep the accused monitored; require them to report periodically; seize their traveling documents; keep eyes on every departure points in Nigeria and even demand of them to furnish additional credible Nigerians to serve as further surety that they will not abscond. This is the much the government can do if they suspect that an accused is a flight risk; but they have no right not to disobey valid courts orders granting them bail - Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki.
Otherwise how long does the president plan to hold the duo in custody and what if at the end of their trials, they are both found not guilty of these charges? Will the president then arrest the judges who presided over the cases and imprison them too for not finding the accused persons guilty? Icheoku cries out that the democracy in Nigeria is gradually unraveling before everyones' eyes, while Nigerians are pretending it is not a big deal that Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki are not allowed out on bail. It is not about Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki, but about the constitution of Nigeria which is currently being trampled by President Muhammadu Buhari. If it is Nnamdi Kanu yesterday and now Sambo Dasuki today, who will it be tomorrow? Moments like this makes the death of Gani Fawehinmi more regrettable as he would have since rushed to court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to show cause and/or for contempt of court for disobeying and disregarding valid courts orders.
Once again, Icheoku reiterates that the actions of President Muhammadu Buhari is threatening the democracy which Nigerians fought very hard for and won; and has had for the past sixteen years. Like South African Judge, Dunstan Mambo warned, "A court is the guardian of justice, the cornerstone of a democratic system based on rule of law. If the state does not abide by court orders, the democratic edifice crumbles stone by stone until it collapses and chaos ensues." But are there still lawyers left in Nigeria who actually and truly defends the law to facedown President Muhammadu Buhari and compel him to respect the law before it is too late? Please President Muhammadu Buhari, Icheoku says don't be the 'Mr Know-it-All' that crashed Nigeria's experiment with democracy; do the right thing, obey and respect the rules of law, honor valid bails of courts and set Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki free as ordered.