Only courts can determine what is ‘illegal’, NBA replies Tinubu

The Nigerian Bar Association on Tuesday told the President, Bola Tinubu, that the determination of what “constitutes “illegal orders” still remains a matter within the exclusive preserve of the courts of law” and not the presidency.

The NBA made the clarification in a letter released by its president, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, in reaction to a statement by the President, during his Democracy Day address, “that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.”

Maikyau, in the letter, reaffirmed that the NBA will at all times “vehemently oppose any attempt by any person or group of persons to truncate or in any way abridge our democracy”, he, however, insisted that the president cannot ascribe to himself that role.

Maikyau further congratulated Tinubu on his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and tasked the new government to focus on the immediate issues of national security, economy and administration of justice.

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The letter read in part, “What Nigerians require is a well-thought-out, informed, all-inclusive and purposeful intervention, with as much information made available to the public, to the extent permitted within the parlance, so as to reassure Nigerians of the sincere commitment of the government in the area of security.

“Government must be transparent; the people must, by deliberate and conscious investment in manpower development and equipment purchase/procurement, be taken out of the state of fear, which decades of bloodshed and flourishing criminal activities have plunged the country into; the psyche of Nigerians must be recovered from the place of despair and despondency! The right people must be given the task of implementing security plans and policies.”

While admitting that the preponderance of views supports the removal of subsidy by the new government, Maikyau noted the need to ameliorate the effect of the removal on the citizens.

He said, “What remains, however, is the need to immediately deploy such measures that will address the ensuing difficulties associated with the withdrawal of the subsidy.”

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“With the level of infrastructural deficits in many respects and the reliance on petroleum products as the primary source of power for most businesses, entrepreneurs, and private users, there is an urgent need to put in place policies that will help cushion the effect of this otherwise laudable decision before its positive impact will begin to be felt or noticed within our socio-economic space.”

On the issue of the administration of justice, the NBA President noted that “every aspect of our judicial infrastructure requires fundamental rethinking.”

“Our approaches to policing, adjudication, bail, sentencing, and imprisonment need changes in significant ways. Achieving the desired justice system will be a process, not an event.”

“Nevertheless, change must be accelerated to keep up with the expectations of Nigerians, particularly those of the poorest and most vulnerable communities. Such change must be thoughtfully planned and carefully managed. We are confident that under your able leadership, Nigeria will be able to respond effectively to these various challenges.”

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