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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Gasping For Jail Instead Of Obeying Court Order

“I WILL RATHER GO TO JAIL THAN OBEY ANY COURT ORDER RESTRAINING ME FROM EMBARKING ON STRIKE” – JOE AJAERO.

By Ohio I.M.C (Esq) 

These words are magniloquent, you will agree with me.

President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, is a patriot, shrewed and affable. He weighs his actions and polishes his responses, before releasing them for public consumption, but the above statement falls short of what is expected of a patriot like our dear Ajaero.

We don’t want a situation where the cure will be more than the disease. Yes, Nigerians are hungry; Nigerians are angry; and Nigerians are groaning under the present economic hardship because of the scarcity of the Naira, removal of subsidy on petroleum products coupled with steady decline of the value of the Naira.

According to economists, the Naira is on a free fall against the Dollar. Many are of the view that this situation should not continue and something positive must be done to change the situation for good. Agreed, if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have unwittingly chosen the side of the oppressors.

The NLC president does not want to be on the side of the oppressors – he wants to be on the side of the masses, proletariats, peasants and the common plebeians.

However, the Nigerian State does not need strong men in this struggle, it needs strong institutions like the rule of law, separation of powers, equal rights, and civil liberties that are well enshrined and inbued in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)

Under section 6 of the Constitution, judicial powers are vested in our courts and their decisions are binding on all authorities and persons ( section 287) ” Be you so high, the law is above you” is an English aphorism that is almost of universal application. So, if a judgment/ruling is given against you by a court of competent jurisdiction and you are not satisfied, you have a right of appeal to a higher court. Therefore, the NLC President has a right to challenge any order made against him in an appellate court. He has no right to pick or choose which court order to obey.

This is the essence of the rule of law under a constitutional democracy like Nigeria. Any other option will reduce the country’s institutions, particularly the judiciary to empty shells and this could put the entire nation in suspense and tenterhooks. This should not be allowed to happen. We should all operate and live under the rule of law.

Accordingly, we plead with the NLC President to follow and toe the line of the rule of law and obey any order made by a court of competent jurisdiction until the order is set aside by an appellate court. That is the way to go in a democracy. Any other route will lead to anarchy, confusion and ” Erhehon”.

OHIO I.M.C (Esq.) is Lawyer based in Benin, Edo State capital.

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