On Tuesday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of Federal High Court in Abuja ruled
that the Department of State Services (DSS) should release Omoyele
Sowore on bail. Sowore is still held in detention by the DSS. Mr. Femi
Falana, attorney for Sowore has vowed that he and his team would not
leave DSS facility until his client is released to him.
In a democracy, it is necessary that agencies of government and public
officials obey the rule of law. Public officials must be made to
respect the substance of the law as well as respect the procedures
embedded in the law, such as the judgment handed down by Justice Taiwo
Taiwo. Public officials must also respect the right of citizens to
access such procedures in order to defend themselves against the
tyranny of an emperor like Emperor Buhari.
No agency or public official should have the power to flout or
cherry-pick the law or judgment of a court. It is instructive to note
that the rule of law is meant to curb the cruelty and crudity of
rapacious officials. The refusal of DSS to free Sowore as ordered by
Justice Taiwo Taiwo is yet another example of Emperor Buhari’s
determination to turn Nigeria into totalitarianism. Has DDS the power
to arrest, detain, or flout court order? What special powers has the
Constitution given to DSS? Is DSS above the law? Why did DSS refuse to
obey the law? Who is behind the DSS behavior? Why is DSS still holding
Sowore when all bail requirements have been met?
Whoever the DSS officer - from director to the lowest official - who
disobeyed the court judgment must be sanctioned for contempt of court
up to jail term. The DSS director is formally responsible for whatever
happens below him. Justice Taiwo Taiwo should issue a warrant for the
arrest of DSS director to show cause why he shouldn’t be held in
contempt of court. Justice Taiwo Taiwo should determine who is
responsible for noncompliance of his order. All records must be
produced of who up to the chain of command the person who ordered
continued detention of Sowore.
Will Emperor Buhari destroy his presidency? Yes!
Buhari disdains the rule of law. He’s shredding norms of presidential
behavior. Most importantly, he’s bringing vital organ of our democracy
- the judiciary- down with him. We have never had a president so
ill-informed, so illiterate, so clueless, and so uneducated about the
nature of his office. Emperor Buhari is so openly mendacious, so
self-destructive, and so brazen in his attacks on the rule of law
especially on court orders and freedom of speech, association, and
Emperor Buhari is a monster of the worst attributes of a president:
rage, bigotry, nepotism, oppression, incompetence and spite,
self-aggrandizement, paranoia, insecurity, indifference to law, and
lack of self-control and reflexive dishonesty. The prognosis for the
rest of his second term is grimmer. His bizarre behavior has made our
politics and democracy more toxic. Emperor Buhari has successfully
embarked on gradual dismantling and destruction of our justice system.
I’ll like to remind Emperor Buhari that the presidency is defined
largely by the person who occupies it: his character, competence, and
leadership skills. Great presidents in history exercised power wisely.
Emperor Buhari has debased the office and betrayed the Constitution.
The era of emperors are long gone and dead. Emperor Buhari should
recognize that he presides over representative democracy. The first
step to acknowledge this is to order DSS to stop the bullshit and free