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“Buhari Has Taken Us Back To 1984” – Says Human Rights Lawyer



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Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, human rights lawyer, wants the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to boycott the courts indefinitely in protest of the invasion of judges’ homes by the Department of State Services (DSS).

In a statement on Saturday, Adegboruwa described the raidas “full blown dictatorship now in action”, saying “It is now a case of anarchists in power”.

“As judges have no voices to speak officially, I call on the Nigerian Bar Association to declare an indefinite strike so that all courts of law in Nigeria will be boycotted until there is respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, commencing from Monday, October 10, 2016, until further notice,” he said.

“The clampdown on judges has been on for a long time, through agents of government in the various institutions of oppression. We are now back to the 1984 jackboot system of intolerance, where all dissenting views and opinions must be silenced.

“It is condemnable for the DSS, which is an arm of the executive, to be breathing down on the judicial arm of government, under the guise of fighting corruption. It is now clear without any shadow of doubt that the so-called anti-corruption war is a hidden agenda to perpetuate the Gen Buhari regime in office beyond 2019. It is meant to silence the opposition and to cover the inefficiency and cluelessness of this administration.

“The 1999 Constitution in sections 4, 5 and 6 prescribes the system of separation of powers between the three arms of government. But since 2015 when this government was sworn in, the executive arm under Gen Buhari has dominated and brutalised the other two arms of government. The leadership of the National Assembly is under trial and it is now the turn of the judiciary.”

He explained that in a democracy, the rule of law prescribes the independence of the judiciary, where judges must be allowed to take decision according to law and according to their consciences.

According to him, the invasion of the homes of judges by the DSS “should never happen that the executive is indirectly threatening and intimidating members of the third estate of the realm”.

“The judiciary is the arm that stabilises democracy and should not be exposed to ridicule or opprobrium in the manner that the DSS is currently doing,” the lawyer said.

“I believe that the hidden motive of all these is traceable to the power tussle between leaders of the ruling party and in the Ominu days of lawlessness that will be unleashed by those who are in power, it has become necessary to capture the judiciary, to whom the victims of this power tussle will likely turn.

“Any fight against corruption must be done under the rule of law and there is no law that authorises the invasion of the home of a judge at an unholy hour of 1am. Being public officers, there is no way these judicial officers would have absconded or run away from normal arrest during the day, if need be.

“This is the height of executive lawlessness and crass intolerance. We do not advocate that those alleged to be corrupt should not face their due trial, bit that should be done in an atmosphere of dignity and respect for the fundamental rights of the suspects.”

He added that this was dangerous and condemnable since “we are not under a military rule”.

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