The Nigerian Bar Association has informed President Bola Tinubu that the authority to determine what constitutes “illegal orders” remains exclusively within the jurisdiction of the courts, not the presidency. This clarification was conveyed by the NBA’s president, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, in a letter released on Tuesday in response to the President’s Democracy Day address, where he stated that “unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.”
In the letter, Maikyau reasserted that the NBA will always vehemently oppose any attempts to undermine or limit democracy, but he emphasized that the president cannot claim that role for himself.
The NBA president also urged the new government to prioritize pressing matters such as national security, the economy, and the administration of justice.
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.”
“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.”