Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and social critic has cried out over the conduct of the Rivers State Governor who parades as a senior lawyer.
Reacting to news of events emanating from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Falana told the Daily Post that Governor Nyesom Wike is an embarrassment to the Nigeria Bar Association and the Body of Benchers.
“It is unfortunate that these events are happening in Port Harcourt where the Governor of the State is Senior Lawyer and not just a lawyer, I’m even informed that he’s a member of the Body of Benchers; that is an embarrassment. A colossal embarrassment to the Nigerian Bar Association”, the fiery lawyer stated.
He called on the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and Body of Benchers to sanction the Rivers Governor, saying that Wike cannot be allowed to continue with his assault on the constitution.
Describing the Executive Order relied upon by Governor Wike is an administrative instrument, the SAN said all it contained were guidelines which do not translate into a Law.
According to him, the Constitution is superior in every way to the Governor’s order.
He said it was proper for any offender inspite of the crime committed to brought before a Court and tried in line with the Law.
“Under our Law, an emergency situation under the Quarantine Act does not permit the demolition of a house by an alleged offender. Whoever has breached the Law will have to be tried and convicted by a Court of Law before a sentence can be pronounced.
“There is no provision for even the President to take the Law into his hands and then begin to mete out punishments to citizens without recourse to the constitution.
“We hope that the Governor will be properly advised to reverse his decisions, publicly apologise and restore the properties of those that have been destroyed. Everyone will have to go through a judicial process. That is what the rule of Law is all about.
“The guidelines and regulations in the Executive Order are subject to the Constitution. So, if there is a conflict in the guidelines, the directives of the Governor and the Constitution, his directives will bow to the Constitution.
“The right to property, fair hearing and liberty are constitutional rights. No Governor has the power to dismiss these rights under the pretext of enforcing the COVID-19 regulations.
“I expect the victims of his actions to take legal actions because I have seen the Executive Order of the Governor, there is no provision for demolishing properties. Only a court of Law can do that and that is after being found guilty.”
“What is done in civilised places is for the Governor to obtain an order of interim forfeiture and then go through a trial.
“No Constitution allows a Governor to become the maker of a Law, accuser, witness, enforcer of the Law, the prosecutor and the Judge at the same time. It is primitive,” Falana told the Daily Post.
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