SPECIAL REPORT: How Buhari administration serially disobeys court orders

Buhari taking oath before judge [Photo: News Time]
Buhari taking oath before judge [Photo: News Time]

Shortly after assuming office, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his commitment to ensure compliance to the rule of law by all agencies of government under his administration.

Four months after he was sworn in as president, in reaction to cases of human right abuses by security operatives, Mr. Buhari noted that his administration would not tolerate the situation where any arm of government undermines the rule of law.

“Let me reiterate this administration’s commitment to due process, merit and total observance of the rule of law as central pillars of a prosperous and democratic society,” the president said.

Also during an address delivered at the Commonwealth meeting in May, 2016, Mr. Buhari again restated his government’s commitment to comply with the rule of law and respect for human rights.

“I am committed to applying the rule of law and to respecting human rights,” the President had said.

Similarly, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in an interview with journalists in April restated the administration’s commitment to the rule of law including obedience of court orders.

“I very strongly believe that we must obey the law. It is our duty as government to respect the orders of the court.”

Despite the verbal statements of the president and his deputy, however, three cases highlight how the Buhari administration has serially violated court orders, going against the rule of law it has repeatedly touted.


As part of the Buhari administration’s commitment to tacking corruption, several officials of the previous administration, accused of mismanaging public funds, were charged to court.

Prominent among such persons was the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Mr. Dasuki is facing multiple charges for alleged diversion of $2.1 billion and illegal possession of fire arms.

Although Mr. Dasuki has been granted bail on at least six different occasions by various courts, the Nigerian government has persistently refused to comply with the court orders.

In the wake of his trial, a Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola in 2015 ordered the release of Mr. Dasuki’s passport and granted him permission to travel abroad for three weeks on medical grounds.

Despite the order made on November 3, the SSS refused to release Mr. Dasuki.

Again, the former NSA and four others were allowed bail on December 18, 2015 with a similar condition to provide a bond of N250 million by Justice Hussein-Baba Yusuf.

Although that condition was fulfilled, the court order has yet to be obeyed by the Nigerian government.

Similarly, the former NSA; a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda; former Sokoto governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; ‎and three others were granted bail on December 21, 2015 by the Federal Capital Territory High Court in the sum of N250 million each and two sureties in like sum.

They were charged to court on a 22-count charge for alleged diversion of funds, misappropriation and breach of trust to the tune of N19.4 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Despite fulfilling the conditions for his bail set by Justice Peter Affen, the SSS refused to release Mr. Dasuki.

Following the refusal of the administration to obey Nigerian courts, Mr. Dasuki approached a Court of the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS, for international mediation on the matter.

The ECOWAS court on October 4, 2016 granted the former NSA bail and ordered the Nigerian government to pay N15 million to the defendant as damages for his ‘illegal and arbitrary detention’.

Reacting to the order by the ECOWAS court, however, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said government was not under compulsion to respect that court order.

A few months later, on January 17 this year, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court reaffirmed previous court orders granting Mr. Dasuki bail, and stressed that the fact of the said orders were undisputable.

Also on April 6, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court affirmed, for the umpteenth time, its decision for the release of Mr. Dasuki.

Despite all these court orders, Mr. Dasuki is still held at the Kuje Maximum Prisons, while his trials continue.


Perhaps the most absurd of violation of human rights by the Buhari administration is its treatment of Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, a leader of a Shiite group, IMN.

Mr. El-Zakzaky has been in detention without any trial for over 17 months.

On December 2, 2016 the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court ordered his release with the judge berating the Nigerian government for violating his rights.

Mr. El-Zakzaky was arrested by the military on December 14, 2015 after a clash between his IMN and officers of the Nigerian Army.

At least 347 members of the group were killed during the clash. Nobody is being prosecuted for the killings.

Delivering the court order for the release of Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife, the presiding judge, Gabriel Kolawole, also asked that a fine of N50 million be paid to the detainees, while an accommodation be provided for them and their family.

Despite warnings by the court that the Nigerian government would face further sanctions if it refused to abide by the order for the release of Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife, that decision has not been complied with long after the 45 days ultimatum given by the court of law.

Mr. Kolawole had in that ruling described the Shiite’s relationship with the Nigerian government as “delicate and slippery”, stressing that the Nigerian Government must not demonise the IMN.

Not interested in obeying the December 2, 2016 court order, the federal government filed an appeal against the ruling, 10 days after the expiration of the deadline for Mr. El-Zakzaky’s release.

Several rallies have been held by members of the Shiite group demanding the release of their leader and his wife. Also, the government is yet to accuse him of any crime or file any charges against him.


In July 2016, the Supreme Court gave an order reaffirming the nullification of the 2006 controversial transfer of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, to a Russian firm, the United Company RUSAL.

The violation of the ruling of Nigeria’s apex court on the matter did not however, start with the Buhari administration. The 2016 ruling was the third by the Supreme Court since the questionable sale of the aluminium plant to the Russians by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE in 2004.

In June 2004, the Nigerian-American consortium, Bancorp Financial Investment Group Divino Corporation BFIG, led by Reuben Jaja, was declared winner of the bid for the plant organised by the National Council for Privatization, NCP.

But, the BPE cancelled the outcome of the bid and disqualified the consortium in controversial circumstances, accusing it of failure to meet the deadline for the payment of 10 per cent of the bid price it offered in line with stipulated guidelines.

BFIG took the matter to court seeking the enforcement of its right in line with the terms of agreement reached in the pre-bid technical conference by all bid parties.

For over eight years, the matter dragged in various courts in Nigeria, till the Supreme Court, on July 6, 2012, in a unanimous verdict, annulled the handing over of ALSCON to UC RUSAL.

The court, which declared as illegal, null and void, BPE’s decision on the basis of the agreement purportedly reached at their negotiations in 2006, reinstated BFIG as the authentic winner of the bid.

The BPE, defiantly dismissed the ruling as an error, encouraging Dayson Holdings Limited, the Nigerian affiliate of UC RUSAL in Nigeria, to file an appeal.

In its application, Dayson Holding sought a review of the July 6, 2012 judgement annulling the 2006 handing over of ALSCON to UC RUSAL by BPE. The privatisation agency also declared its support for the continued ownership of the multi-billion-dollar plant.

Consequently, BFIG returned to the court with another application in 2014 seeking the interpretation and enforcement of the subsisting order against UC RUSAL.

Despite BPE, which joined UC RUSAL, to oppose the application, the Supreme Court in its September 2014 ruling reaffirmed its previous verdict and directed BPE to “fully enforce and give effect to the meaning and intendment of the judgment of the Supreme Court of July 6, 2012.”

Again, the Russians ignored the directive and proceeded to file an application in November 2015 to demand the Supreme Court to, not only review its July 6, 2012 judgment, but also set it aside altogether, and confirm UC RUSAL as the owner of ALSCON.

But, on July 11, 2016, the Supreme Court again, in a unanimous ruling by a five-member panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, dismissed the application as incompetent and without merit.

In flagrant disregard to the Supreme Court ruling, the Minister of Mines & Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, in April 2017 undertook an inspection visit to ALSCON.

During the visit, Mr. Fayemi was received and shown around the plant by Dimitriy Zaviyalov, the managing director of UC RUSAL, the same firm the Supreme Court repeatedly sacked.

The minister not only promised to work with the Russian firm to reactivate ALSCON, but also assured Mr. Zaviyalov, that government would “encourage the Supreme Court to expedite action on the ruling, to free the complex of any encumbrances.”

Contrary to Mr. Fayemi’s claim, however, the Supreme Court already ruled.


In a recent address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, described the failure of government or any party to adhere to court judgments as outright impunity.

“Anyway, disobedience of court order is an act of impunity,” said Mr. Onnoghen who further said the problems created by disobedience of court orders were a matter for the legislature and the executive to address.

Reacting to the trend, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rotimi Jacobs, said failure of any party to respect court judgements is an abuse of democracy and an invitation to anarchy.

“My reactions to it is that the court, government, parties, Nigerians must comply with court orders. That is a constitutional duty imposed on every one as stipulated in section 287 of the Constitution.

“The section says that judgements of every courts of law must be respected. Judgements by high courts; court of appeal and supreme court; must be respected by all persons and authorities. There are also obligations that are imposed on everyone.

“There is a duty on everyone to obey court orders. And on no account should anyone fail to obey court orders. I think the journalists should also investigate why the judgements have not been obeyed. Secondly, have they appealed those judgements? I don’t think any democratic government that is worth its salt should disobey court orders because it is the basis. If you disobey court judgements, you ridicule the judiciary, the constitution, you ridicule everybody and it is an invitation to anarchy,” he said.

Similarly, a former chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, berated the Buhari administration for selection court orders it wishes to obey.

“It’s as if government is picking and choosing what court judgements to respect and the ones not to respect. There are many problems with that; one of which is that people will begin to feel that courts no longer matter. In that case the only thing that matters is that if you can overcome somebody then you win, but if you can’t, then you will lose. That becomes a circumstance of rule of war, not rule of law,” said Mr. Odinkalu.

He added that the situation will only create the avenue for violence and prevent great economic activities in the country.

“Investors will not invest in the country, because investors want an environment where rules exist and are respected”.

Mr. Odinkalu further said the law courts will also be negatively influenced if the trend continues.

“That is to say if you are on the side that is favoured by the president’s body language then people will respect you because you can muster political force, but if you are not and you are accused, then you are endangered. When things get to that point, then it is dangerous.”


Reacting to his administration’s serial violation of court orders, Mr. Osinbajo told PREMIUM TIMES and other journalists at an interview that although his government recognises and respects the rule of law, it also acknowledges its (government’s) right of appeal.

“It is our duty as government to respect the orders of the court. But we also reserve the right to appeal”, he said.

However, although the federal government has appealed the judgement mandating Mr. El-Zakzaky’s release, after the deadline, no appeal has been filed against the many rulings mandating the release of Mr. Dasuki.

Also, the Nigerian government has not appealed against the ALSCON ruling and may be unable to do so as the ruling was repeatedly delivered by the apex court.


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  • Revolution is the answer

    Premium Times Editor,

    MAY GOD GIVE SPEED and clarity of thought to the revolutionary leaders
    in our military barracks who’re meeting to swiftly end a vile conspiracy of
    thieves that’s mistaken for democracy in Nigeria, and assure the
    revolutionaries total success in killing all the rogues who steal the treasury
    in the name of democracy. Enough is enough!

    Blood must flow. Plea-bargained drugs-running criminals
    have turned our state treasury into personal ATM machine. They and others like
    them who loot the treasury; and who have series of documented cases of theft
    (which Muhamadu Buhari is too compromised to prosecute), must all be arrested
    and laid to rest in perfect peace. When the guns fall silent, there must be no
    single treasury thief left standing in Nigeria.

    • cocommuniqué


      “We are overdue for a revolution. If you are afraid of a revolution, maybe you have something to be afraid of.
      What is wrong with us having a revolution here in Nigeria? Unless of course you belong to those who are
      stealing government money or you have something to hide, then of course you should be afraid of
      revolution. After the revolution, there is what we call revolutionary justice; the revolutionaries will
      get you and shoot you. There are many people whom if we shoot, Nigeria will become a better
      place. In fact, if the revolutionaries can shoot dead just 500 corrupt people, Nigeria will be a
      much better place, and God will forgive the revolutionaries.”

      .…….Dr. Junaid Mohammed

      (KANO, March 17, 2013)

      • omokaro1

        What nigeria needs is good governance; revolution is hell and doesn’t solve problem!

        • cocommuniqué


          Nigeria cannot reach the destination of ‘good governance’ without stopping first
          at the terminus of revolution, to physically eliminate the moral wretches and treasury thieves.
          There’s no other way to arrive at good governance where criminals are in control of Nigeria.
          No country ever sought progress, peace or justice under the rule of thieves.

  • amazing2012

    Court order versus God order !
    These criminals that you give as example disobey God order for our trust in them. They betrayed God by stealing from the poor and made many of us miserable! Many of those that were giving bail have escaped justice and run out of the country.
    Your report is paid by the same SATANS that made you a begger

  • Eki Onefere


    Any human being that tells lies will become a thief and a liar can never respect any law.
    That is what is happening now in Nigeria. Lies plus thieves have killed the Rule of Law in Nigeria.
    Buhari said last year that , “JUDICIARY IS MY HEADACHE”, not so? How can he now obey court?
    Did Buhari not tell the SSS to invade the bedrooms of court Judges at 12 midnight last year too?
    Suppose the Judges were having heavy sex with their wives, where is their right to privacy in law?

    The point is that the Buhari/Osinbajo government is just as lawless as the Abacha regime.
    Let me elucidate in order to be pellucid. You see, the lies of Muhamadu Buhari are out of this world.
    I have never seen a man over 70 telling the weight of lies Muhamadu Buhari tells everyday of his life.
    He lied that he sat for exam and got Wasc in 1961, he lied against generals of the Nigerian Army too.
    Buhari lied that Nigeria’s army generals were the ones hiding the Wasc/Gce certificate he got in 1961.

    • Ferago Domingo




    This write-up should reveal that Buhari was once a Military dictator, that seized power via a Coup d’etat, and that was his last qualification, and job, before he somehow re-incarnated as President of the country, after a 30 year hiatus, as a matter of fact, his activities and whereabouts were unknown, with some accusing him of pushing terrorism. So, he has a record from his first stint as head of state. During that period, he engaged in disobeying court orders. The former NSA defendant was one of his nemesis in reversing Buhari’s unconstitutional depose of a duly elected, democratic civilian government. The first, and only such Coup in Nigeria. Instead of being tried for such capital offense as a Coup is, without statute of limitations, Buhari was allowed to come back to imprison a Nigerian Hero, Dasuki as a retarliation, as the world sleeps. In the case of Dasuki, as well as El-Zakzaki, a religious nemesis of Buhari’s sect (El Zakzaki a Shia, with Iranian Bent, and Buhari, a Sunni, for Saudi Arabia), there is no trial, there has been no substantive issues to appeal; Judges have wide latitude to set bail. The pretrial motions, and records, and reviewed and determined by the trier of fact, as well as seting the record. Appeal’s Court decisions turn on record.

    Buhari blatantly suspended, or even annulled “Habeas Corpus”, in at least these two cases in front of everybody, and there’s been no outcry from legal luminaries, or the press, not to talk of the outside world; the latter simply consider Nigeria an uncivilized zoo, that deserves animal treatment from the military and dictators. If not, how can they support, engineer, and impose a former wicked junta, who committed various human rights atrocities a generation ago, to replace a lackluster, civil patriotic person like Jonathan in this Century? And the old leopard didn’t disappoint; never shed his spots. He got more cunning, more tribal, more ethnic, more terrorizing, jailing with impunity, boldly rounding up his enemies…

    For brevity sake, I conclude here, prematurely.

  • Amir

    This report is a shame to Premium Times. If court orders were without bias, political influence and bribery of the judges then it should be obeyed. A situation where you had Nnamdi Kalu crying that government does not obey court order only to flout within days his bail conditions tells you the kind of country we have. Now his utterances and actions with his largely illiterate followers, traders and unemployed is threatening the unity of the country. Which president would not learn from history when various courts give judgment based oh how much they received from interested parties. The judges have been particularly hostile to the Buhari govt because they are not being ‘settled’ before ruling on cases. We all witnessed how the German govt deported a German citizen of Nigerian parentage on SUSPICION of ties with terrorists, why couldn’t German lawyers or courts rule against their government?

    • elvis

      Its comments from people like you that make whites call us monkeys. Just listen to yourself. You are such a shame

      • Emeka

        As if you understood what he wrote. You are one of those illiterates and traders he referred to.

    • Gaskiya

      Please prove to us beyond doubt, that money was given at 6 different times to panel of judges in 6 different courts including ECOWAS court, or short your dirty mouth up and do not reduce people to your low, propagandist level.
      When your kind fail election “it was rigged”. If you loss a case, “the judge was bribed”. Like your father the devil, when you lie, you speak your language. Nonsense!!!

  • olat

    Evelyn Okakwu and Samuel Ogundipe are pens corridor box of NASS.

  • Peace Forall

    Why hausa-fulani’s and hausa-fulani led administration will not disobey the court order? The question every sane person that called him or herself patriotic nigerian should asking him or herself is if we are one united country as said how is it that Constitutional law work side by side with Sharia law? If hausa-fulani believed in nigeria project if not because of oil and gas, how is that hausa-fulani prefer Sharia law instead of their so called beloved nigeria Constitutional law? Can the ignorant nigerian patriots be sincere to tell us where in this World that Constitutional Law works side by side with Sharia law? What kind of Government is nigeria runing? We Biafran youths have lost fate in this confusion and hopelessness call nigeria. All we want is peaceful exit by means of REFERENDUM as it’s done in every civilized society anyother senseless unity sermons and other bla bla bla bla bla bla are dead on arrival. Nigeria have only 2 choice, either Peaceful Referendum or violent break-up but one thing is certain Biafra must be restored. The sovereignty of Niger Delta and the Restoration of Biafra’s sovereignty is justified under international law and practice and our rights ultimately are what we are willing to fight and die for. Death to us is nothing, freedom for Biafra is everything. We shall resist all the primitive forces of oppression and the asinine peddlars of lies, ignorance and falsehood to destroy someone else’s yearning for freedom from oppression and aspiration for liberty, people believe in crushing, destroying, humiliating, killing and jailing their perceived enemies and political adversaries for no just cause the moment they feel threatened or intimidated. No government in the history of the World have ever successfully supress the will of the people. No not now that the civilized world has determined that self-determination is an inalienable right. Whosoever that makes democratic solution impossible makes arm conflict inevitable. No one is immunized of bombs and bullets.

  • I need my Niger_DELTA Republic

    Below are the unmistakable BENEFITS benefits of disintegration/breakup/Secession

    There will be no more association with terrorism. The collective tag of terrorism will now be on only one country – Arewa Republic

    Prosperity, accelerated development with no hindrances whatsoever. The laggards will be in their own country, subject to their own laws – religious, extremist or whatever. But never again will they have to impede development of other peoples/nations.

    3. PEACE
    Peace, peace and peace shall rain. Church bombings will never occur again. We all know Christians neither bomb churches nor mosques

    The constitutions of emergent nations will include prescription of minimum education for presidential candidates to bar the unintelligent illiterates and academic inferiors from becoming president. High and equal standards will apply to all citizens – same cut off marks for admission to schools shall apply to all citizens irrespective of your ethnicity or religion. None will shamefully glory in the tag ‘educationally disadvantaged’

    People will be elevated to positions of authority according to their level of competence and not level of influence in a forest.

    Human rights will be respected. No peaceful protesters will be shot and killed. Protesters shall no more be buried in mass graves on presidential orders

    Corruption will be a thing of the past. Even when it occurs there shall be no blanket immunity to any ethnic group or persons or past friends of politicians.

    8. PROBITY
    Any persons or group of persons associated with terrorism or who have made inflammatory threats in time past or supported terror by way of utterances or otherwise, shall be barred from seeking public office.

    9. FREEDOM
    There shall be freedom of speech and association. Freedom to agitate, to protest without being shot and buried in mass graves like Buhari has been doing

    There shall be self reliance and confidence in the ability from within and not the omnipresent overly dependence on, and/or looking up to imperialist nations for direction.

    • Matty


  • Olatubosun

    Buhari is not rulling out of constitution

    • dele20


  • Olatubosun

    NigriNigeria has been sanitized

  • Olatubosun

    No way for indiscipline

  • Dominique

    A divided Nigeria will be best for humanity. Its a shame that in the 21st century laggards and incompetent men like Buhari will be president. This is why Europe and the developed world will continue to disrespect Africans and Nigerians in particular. How come we can’t have our best as leaders? Why must we always allow the worst of the worst, or if you like the worstest of the worstest to be presidents? Why? Because Nigeria is a warped federation?

    • Phili Beta


      For lacking in any sense of urgency until every problem morphs into a crisis,
      and by preferring to drag his feet and wasting five months on the simplest of tasks;
      to simply name his own Ministers, Muhamadu Buhari is the worst president Nigeria’s ever had –
      the most incompetent, the most dull, the least educated, the least thinking and least able.

      Muhamadu Buhari made no single sensible appointment since he took office but instead pushed Nigeria
      into devastating recession and worse, he knows no means of escape for one year running, yet, he raises
      his neck up to the sky, looking for admiration, like a peacock, as the world hisses at Africa’s presidential
      ignorance on parade.

  • MilitaryPolice01

    A good piece by Evelyn. There is no need to comment any further


    I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that George Orwell prospectively looked
    at the Nigeria and its misrulers before writing the epic novel Animal Farm.
    Even though Manor Farm was never in a perfect state, all administrators
    of the Farm managed to get things going, at least normally UNTIL
    Napoleon and his Puppies led a revolt from the North East
    wing of the Farm. The Administrator was sacked, and
    all old rules were abrogated. Napoleon set new
    rules,chief amongst the 10 commandments was;

    “All Animals are equal, but some (Boorutai) are more equal than others”

    …and with this law in place,Napoleon and his
    Puppies were above the law. No errant Puppy is
    ever arrested;no criminal Puppy however violent is
    ever even named or identified. It was a ground rule. And
    Manor Farm degenerated to a lawless Farm and eventually doomed.
    The parallels are obvious.The youth must act. Restructuring, confederation,
    secession, war etc should all be on the table. The solution lies in all except to go
    on with the status quo, certainly not. The time to act is now. To delay will be dangerous.

  • Slow Motion

    President Muhammadu Buhari will not return home from medical leave in Britain
    at the weekend, presidency sources said on Saturday, having previously told
    Reuters the ailing leader would be returning at the weekend.* Former Abia State
    Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, had said President Buhari’s health has improved
    considerably when he visited him in London last week. He disclosed that the
    President would be returning to Nigeria before June 11th and urged Nigerians to
    desist from spreading messages of hate and division about the health of the
    President who he said is fast recuperating.”

    ………Africa News
    (June 11th, 2017)

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Regardless of the summary of courts orders listed above the problem with justice lies with the NJC-bribes-for-favourite judgement by Nigerian judges and justices, whose residences were raided by the DSS and recovered millions of dollars,Euros and pound-sterling currencies from our judges and justices, even though they are active ly on the bench under the supervision of the NJC and chief justice of Nigeria.Without elimination of bribes for justice on the bench, justice is dead in Nigeria, as justice could continue to be delivered to the highest bidders.

  • Justice Equity

    When a nation elects an 80 years sick ,malicious, hate overwhelmed, vindictive, myopic ,clannish, cunning crafty old man to be her leader,pain ,sorrow, tears and disappointment shall be her portion.
    Since the almajiri born to ruins brought their malicious, evil chains (change) upon Nigeria,God seemed to have abandoned Nigeria .
    The holy scripture is true that says that when the wicked is on the throne, the people will mourn.Nigerians are indeed in mourning and painsive mood,from economy to politics, security, rule of law,power ,education, health and now even football.
    May God forgive Nigerins error of judgment that brought this calamity upon Nigeria, deliver Nigeria and heal our national wounds.o

  • dele20

    PMB rules Nigeria in such a way that silent the looters and war against the corrupt