Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari‘s statement on the rule of law/national interest.
At the opening of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja on Sunday, Buhari said: “Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.”
In an Op-ed on Premium Times, Soyinka said Buhari is using “national interest” as an alibi for flouting decisions of the judiciary.
Here we go again! At his first coming, it was “I intend to tamper with Freedom of the Press”, and Buhari did proceed to suit action to the words, sending two journalists – Irabor and Thompson – to prison as a reward for their professional integrity. Now, a vague, vaporous, but commodious concept dubbed “national interest” is being trotted out as alibi for flouting the decisions of the Nigerian judiciary. President Buhari has obviously given deep thought to his travails under a military dictatorship, and concluded that his incarceration was also in the “national interest”.
The timing is perfect, and we have cause to be thankful for the advance warning, since not all rulers actually make a declaration of intent, but simply proceed to degrade the authority of the law as part of the routine business of governance. We have been there before. It should be of mere interest, not despondency, that this latest proclamation of dictatorial recidivism has also been made before an assembly of officers of the law, the Nigerian Bar Association. We expect a robust response from the NBA as part of its conclusions.
Read more on Premium Times.