The Nigerian government has been dragged to the United Nations by a rights group over what it called a persistent and deliberate disobedience of court rulings in the case of Colonel  Sambo Dasuki and Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

“Persistent and apparently deliberate disobedience of court rulings by the Nigerian authorities is an affront to the supremacy of the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary.

“If not urgently addressed may lead to self-help and undermine the authorities’ oft-expressed commitment to fight corruption,” the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said in its petition to United Nation on issues around the continued detention of two Nigerians. 

The petition was sent to Mr Diego García-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. 

The rights group is requesting that he should “prevail on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to end persistent disobedience of court rulings and orders and uphold the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and the country’s international obligations on protection of the independence and integrity of the judiciary”. 

According to the group, “Nigerian authorities have disobeyed court orders in several cases including those involving the Islamic Movement of Nigeria Leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife”.

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It also said that the government had flouted court orders issued in the case of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), in its favour.

“Many state governments in Nigeria also continue to flagrantly disobey court orders with almost complete impunity.”

“Other court orders that the government continue to disobey include: the ECOWAS court judgment ordering the Nigerian authorities to provide free and quality education to all Nigerian children without discrimination; the rulings by Nigerian courts ordering the authorities to establish education banks to assist poor students to obtain loans to pursue tertiary education and the restoration of people’s bank to give loans without collaterals to underprivileged citizens.

“At least two of the court rulings SERAP recently obtained from the Federal High Court have been disobeyed by the Nigerian authorities.

“The first involves a case with suit number FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011 delivered in March 2016 where Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the Federal Government of Nigeria to widely publish details on the spending of recovered stolen funds by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999.”

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The organisation then warned that “selective enforcement of court orders if not urgently addressed would ultimately put the rule of law in Nigeria under siege.”

In the petition dated 11 May 2018 and signed by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation insisted that “disobedience of court rulings also directly violates the fundamental principles of the rule of law and separation of powers”.