FEMI Falana, a human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has said that the country is almost back to its early days of full military dictatorship.
Falana said this on Thursday when he featured on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast show on Channels Television.
While responding to a question about change in landscape with respect to human rights in Nigeria, Falana said no progress had been made.
“I will tell you that, very unfortunately, we are almost back to those days of full military dictatorship in Nigeria,” Falana noted.
He said there was an occasion last year where he had to remind Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian President, that even when he served as a military dictator, he still complied with court orders.
“Where the court made orders for the release of Nigerians under the State Security Detention of Persons Decree Number 2 of 1984, including myself, I was detained and the court said “release him” and I was released. Under Ibrahim Babangida military regime, we were released,” the human rights lawyer stated.
He added that he could not fathom how a democratic government would say it would avoid a court order on the basis of national security, adding that even under the military regime, it was unheard of not to talk of a democratic government.
However, he noted that on paper and officially, Nigeria had one of the best human rights law administrations in the world but not so in reality.
Falana noted that Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and others were there but observed in breach by the government.
He noted that the assertion that court orders would not be obeyed was wrong because it was the court that should determine what national security would be based on facts made available to it. Falana stated that the country should not be debating whether the government would obey court orders or not.
In 2019, The ICIR reported how the State Security Service (SSS)refused to obey a Federal High Court order for the release of Sowore following several days of detention.