Lawyers fault Malami on Sowore, Dasuki, El-zakzaky
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.