Lawyers fault Malami on Sowore, Da­suki, El-za­kzaky

The Punch - - BAR/BENCH NEWS - Ade Ade­s­o­moju, Abuja

THe Pres­i­dent of the Cen­tre for So­cio-le­gal Stud­ies, Prof. Yemi Akin­s­eye-ge­orge (SAN), has said “the mere fil­ing of an ap­peal does not op­er­ate as a stay of ex­e­cu­tion” of a court or­der or judg­ment.

Akin­s­eye-ge­orge was re­spond­ing to the ex­pla­na­tion by the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), on why the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment could not im­me­di­ately com­ply with court or­ders for the re­lease of Sambo Da­suki, Omoyele Sowore and Ibra­heem elza­kzaky.

Malami had, dur­ing a re­cent ap­pear­ance on NTA, said gov­ern­ment had the right to con­tinue to hold the men in de­ten­tion un­til its ap­peals against the court or­ders grant­ing them bail were ex­hausted up to the level of the Supreme Court.

“Un­til those mat­ters reach the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court takes the fi­nal de­ci­sion, re­lat­ing there, you are still op­er­at­ing within the am­bit and con­text of rule of law,” Malami had said.

But in an in­ter­view with our cor­re­spon­dent on Wednesday, Akin­s­eye-ge­orge dis­agreed with Malami, say­ing “the mere fil­ing of an ap­peal does not op­er­ate as a stay of ex­e­cu­tion.”

He said, “When a court or­der for bail of a ci­ti­zen is made, it has to be obeyed. There has to be a spe­cific or­der of court for stay of ex­e­cu­tion for the or­der to be stayed.

“This is es­pe­cially so when the mat­ter in­volves the lib­erty of a ci­ti­zen. The log­i­cal ques­tion is what if the ap­peal is not pur­sued? Does it mean the per­son would be de­tained for­ever?”

A for­mer Vice-pres­i­dent of the Nige­rian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion,

Mr Mon­day Ubani, in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, also ex­pressed the same view.

Ubani said, “The ar­gu­ment by the learned AGF is strange. Merely fil­ing an ap­peal does not op­er­ate as a stay. It must even be em­pha­sised in the cases of Sowore and Da­suki that there was no ap­peal filed against the ap­peals granted them.”

An­other lawyer, Mr Stan­ley Imhan­ruor, said Malami’s com­ment was “at best sheer po­lit­i­cal grand­stand­ing in the face of the lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tions that greeted the egre­gious dis­obe­di­ence of court or­ders grant­ing bail to Sowore, Da­suki and el-za­kzaky by the regime of Gen­eral Buhari and un­for­tu­nately act­ing on the ad­vice of the AGF.”

He added, “The AGF’’S sub­mis­sion is not sup­ported by law. In any event, there is noth­ing on record to show that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, through the of­fice of the AGF or pri­vate pros­e­cu­tor, en­gaged by the AGF lodged any ap­peal against the court or­ders ad­mit­ting the afore­men­tioned per­sons to bail.”

He main­tained that the AGF ought to apol­o­gise to Sowore and Da­suki.

An­other lawyer, Inibehe Ef­fiong de­scribed Malami’s com­ment as “shame­ful and legally un­founded”.

He added, “The AGF as the chief law of­fi­cer of the coun­try is con­sti­tu­tion­ally man­dated to en­force court or­ders in line with Sec­tion 287 of the

Con­sti­tu­tion. There is no al­lowance un­der the law for dis­obe­di­ence to court or­ders.”

He also noted that in Sowore’s case, there was no pend­ing ap­peal against the bail granted him by the court.

He added, “even if there was an ap­peal by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, such ap­peal will not af­fect the bail al­ready granted by the court.”

Sowore and el-za­kzaky’s lead coun­sel, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), had also de­manded the re­lease of el-za­kzaky and other de­tainees who have been granted bail by courts, in­sist­ing that it was the only way the regime of re­tired Ma­jor Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari could prove that it was ready to em­brace the rule of law.

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