Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to emulate the culture of obedience to court’s order exhibited by the Senate’s compliance with the court judgment which nullified the 90-day suspension imposed by the upper legislative chamber on the Delta Central Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.
“By complying with the judgment without any conditions whatsoever the Senate has demonstrated leadership by example,” Falana said in a statement which he issued shortly after the news of the Senate’s decision to welcome Omo-Agege back to his legislative duties on Tuesday.
Falana had secured the yet-to-be-obeyed December 2, 2016 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which ordered the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (also known as Shi’ite), Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and the cleric’s wife, Zeinab, from the custody of the Department of State Service.
El-Zakzaky and his wife have been detained by the DSS since December 2015.
Also, a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, has been in the detention of the same agency since December 2015 despite a later judgment of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, ordering his release.
Falana, on Tuesday, renewed his call for the release El-Zakzaky, the cleric’s wife, and Dasuki from the custody of the DSS in obedience to court orders, urging the government to emulate the Senate.
Contrasting the attitudes of both the Federal Government and the Senate to court orders, Falana said the Red Chamber’s decision on Tuesday “is highly commendable in a country where official impunity has since been institutionalised”.
He noted that notwithstanding that “the motion for stay of execution of the judgment of the Honourable Justice Nnamdi Dimgba (of the Federal High Court in Abuja) delivered last week in the case of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege v The Senate has not been heard and determined by the Federal High Court, the Senate resolved yesterday to comply with the terms of the judgment”.
He said, “However, the Executive branch of the Federal Government is called upon to emulate the good example of the Senate by complying with all valid and subsisting judgments of all courts in Nigeria.
“In particular, the Executive should, as a matter of urgency, purge itself of contempt of court by complying with the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on December 2, 2016 which directed that Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zeinab Elzakzaky be released from the illegal custody of the State Security Service.