NBA to President Tinubu: Only the Constitution Can Determine What is Illegal


The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) issued a response to President Bola Tinubu’s statement, asserting that the determination of what qualifies as “illegal orders” falls within the jurisdiction of the courts of law, rather than the presidency.

The NBA, represented by its president, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, clarified its position in a letter addressing the President’s Democracy Day address. The President had stated that any unwarranted illegal orders leading to the truncation or curtailment of democracy would no longer be tolerated.

In the letter, Maikyau emphasized that the NBA remains committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that legal matters are adjudicated by the appropriate judicial bodies. The association reaffirmed its unwavering dedication to maintaining the integrity of the legal system, “vehemently oppose any attempt by any person or group of persons to truncate or in any way abridge our democracy”, he, however, insisted that the president cannot ascribe to himself that role.

Maikyau extended his congratulations to President Bola Tinubu on his inauguration as the sixth democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Furthermore, he urged the new government to prioritize critical matters such as national security, the economy, and the administration of justice.

The letter read in part, “What Nigerians require is a well-thought-out, informed, all-inclusive and purposeful intervention, with as much information made available to the public, to the extent permitted within the parlance, so as to reassure Nigerians of the sincere commitment of the government in the area of security.

“Government must be transparent; the people must, by deliberate and conscious investment in manpower development and equipment purchase/procurement, be taken out of the state of fear, which decades of bloodshed and flourishing criminal activities have plunged the country into; the psyche of Nigerians must be recovered from the place of despair and despondency! The right people must be given the task of implementing security plans and policies.”

While acknowledging that a majority of opinions favor the removal of subsidies by the new government, Maikyau emphasized the importance of mitigating the impact of such removal on the general population.

He said, “What remains, however, is the need to immediately deploy such measures that will address the ensuing difficulties associated with the withdrawal of the subsidy.”

“With the level of infrastructural deficits in many respects and the reliance on petroleum products as the primary source of power for most businesses, entrepreneurs, and private users, there is an urgent need to put in place policies that will help cushion the effect of this otherwise laudable decision before its positive impact will begin to be felt or noticed within our socio-economic space.”

The NBA President noted that “every aspect of our judicial infrastructure requires fundamental rethinking.”

“Our approaches to policing, adjudication, bail, sentencing, and imprisonment need changes in significant ways. Achieving the desired justice system will be a process, not an event.”

“Nevertheless, change must be accelerated to keep up with the expectations of Nigerians, particularly those of the poorest and most vulnerable communities. Such change must be thoughtfully planned and carefully managed. We are confident that under your able leadership, Nigeria will be able to respond effectively to these various challenges.”


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