Monday December 09, 2019 1:31 PM

Falana: Buhari obeyed court orders as Head of State, but failed to do so in democracy

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government for disrespecting court orders.

Falana wondered why President Buhari always obeyed court orders during his tenure as Head of State from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985 but failed to do so in a democracy.

Accordiing to him, he would write to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), to find out why.

Falana spoke yesterday in Lagos during a public lecture on the 30th anniversary of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR).

The lecture, with the theme: “Chronicling the struggle, identifying the way forward,” was delivered by professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, while Prof. Julius Ihonvbere was the keynote speaker.

Falana, noted that respect for human rights in the country had appreciated in the last 30 years.

CDHR, he explained, started in 1989 in the living room of the late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, where activists gathered to strategise for the release of Femi Aborisade, who was then detained by the military junta.

“Thirty years ago, it would have been impossible to assemble to discuss human rights in our country. Notwithstanding that we are currently having what you might call rickety democracy, there are gains, all the struggles of over 30 years, that we must celebrate today,” Falana said.

The lawyer, however, said he was worried about how court orders were being disobeyed by the Federal Government.

He said: “I just remember this morning trying to write a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and I find, very painfully, that whereas the Buhari/Idiagbon regime complied with all court orders for the release of those who were held illegally under the state security detention of persons Decree No 2 of 1984, we cannot say the same today under a democratic government.

“If you get a copy of Gani Fawehinmi’s book on Nigerian law on habeas corpus, all the judgments of our courts during the military dictatorship of Gowon up to the Buhari/Idiagbon regime, all the cases are documented in that book; not on a single occasion did the military regimes detain anybody who had been ordered to be released by the court. They could manipulate; they could filibuster, but ultimately they got everybody released.”

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