•President’s no-release stand splits lawyers
Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, yesterday pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to allow him enjoy the bail granted him by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Meanwhile, lawyers yesterday took divergent positions on Buhari’s explanation of the continued detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki and pro-Biafra agitator, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu despite different court orders admitting them to bail.
Buhari said during his first presidential media chat on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Wednesday that Dasuki and Kanu could not be released because they would jump bail, describing the charges against them as serious.
Speaking with Daily Sun on the development yesterday, counsel to Dasuki, Alhaji Ahmed Raji (SAN), said: “I would want to appeal to Mr. President to please allow my client to enjoy the bail that was granted to him. I want to beg him in the name of God. I cannot join words with the president. I have the greatest respect for him, both in his official and personal capacities. My appeal is just that I am begging him in the name of God to allow my client to enjoy his bail.”
But former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Prince Lanke Odogiyan said Buhari’s stand was a manifestation of dictatorship.
The president’s refusal to release Dasuki and Kanu, he warned, was a slide into lawlessness.He urged the NBA, human rights organisations and other non-governmental groups to call the president to order to prevent the nation from sliding into anarchy.
His words: “It’s disobedience of court order and if it’s not checked, it can lead to consequences beyond our imaginations. It’s a manifestation of dictatorial tendencies and it should not be encouraged. The president must be advised by his legal handlers. If he is not satisfied with an order of court, the appropriate thing to do is to appeal. But he can’t disobey it, he can’t ignore it.
“The Nigerian Bar Association, NGOs and human rights bodies will speak with one voice to call Mr. President to order. We have to be careful so that we don’t slide into anarchy. No government should pick and choose what orders to obey.”
Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams (SAN), however, said the president was acting in the overall interest of the nation.
“The president is at a vantage point to know what is good for the nation at any given time. Sambo Dasuki is a very powerful man and you don’t take such powerful men lightly.
“I am sure he (Buhari) has placed the interest of the nation over and above the interest of Sambo Dasuki, ditto for Kanu. He is not doing so because he doesn’t like their faces.”
The interest of the nation overrides everything else.”
President of the African Bar Association, Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo also insisted that Buhari was on the right path.
He said it was sentimental to claim that Buhari was the one responsible for the continued detention of Dasuki and Kanu. The detainees, he said, were contending with the consequences of infringing the nation’s laws.
Former Chairman of the Ikeja branch of NBA, Mr. Monday Ubani, however, said Buhari’s comments might have been misunderstood.
He said: “Whatever the president has said, he can’t play the roles of the legislature, executive, and the judiciary. The judiciary will certainly handle the cases that are before it. The president can only execute what the judiciary has said. So, I don’t want whatever the president has said to be taken out of proportion.
What I understand the president to be saying actually, which he may not have put in a way that every person would understand, is that we can’t allow a system where prominent people alleged to have committed heinous crimes are given all manner of luxuries after they have put a lot of people in problem and they can’t stay here and answer the charges; they now want to go abroad for treatment while this same thing is not extended to the poor.”