The judicial branch of government is a major component in all living and functional democracies. The main schedule of this arm, which is commonly called the courts, is; interpretation of the laws, and adjudication of frictions between layers of authorities as well as government versus individuals and vice versa. In legal parlances, it is said, this branch, is the last hope of a common man/woman.
From 29th May 2015 to date, Mr. Nasir El Rufai has taken far reaching decisions that don’t add up to even legal Lilliputians. Under the pretext of reforms, ministries, departments, and parastatal were turned inside-out and upside down.
It is irrefutable that most of his actions were pillared on what he called EXECUTIVE ORDER. The import of this is; those decisions didn’t pass through the scrutiny of the Kaduna State House of Assembly – thus, all legal righteousnesses were not observed.
At this juncture, let us walk through some of his decisions that ought to be tested in the courts of law:
1. Surreptitious reduction of ministries, departments and agencies that were established by acts of the state assembly.
2. Retirement of State Permanent Secretaries and LGA Directors of Personnel and Treasurers without following state and LGA service rules.
3. Continued appointment of Caretaker Committees (now sole administrators) in all the 23 LGA.
4. Hunting, fraternizing, negotiating, and compensating Fulani Militia committing genocide in Southern Kaduna in Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Chad and Niger republics.
5. His multiple orders to Police Commissioners to invade people’s residences without search warrants from courts.
6. Burying of over 300 Shias in a mass grave, massacred over 100 kilometers away from their mass graves.
7. Banning of Islamic Movement In Nigeria in the state and subsequent demolition of their homes, worship centres, and schools.
8. Closing of some tertiary institutions in Kafanchan under the pretext of lack of security.
9. Slamming of 24/7 curfew for almost two weeks during which militia ran over some villages, despite the curfew.
10. Sacking hundreds of district heads, over 1000 village heads. And dissolution of their districts and village councils.
11. His definition of hate speech and persecution of people under his parochial and skewed perception of Hate Speech.
12. Demolition of private homes without a justifiable reason like acquiring such spaces for public good or danger such structures are posing to the public.
13. Abuse of judicial processes while persecuting persons viewed as enemies of his elitist and exclusive policies.
14. Banning of peaceful processions and assembly in the state. And using of security agencies in dispersing people enjoying their rights.
There is much wisdom for Civil Society Organizations(CSOs), senior citizens of the state, opposition parties and individuals to drag Mr.El-rufai and the state government to competent courts of law to ascertain the legality or otherwise of afore-listed decisions.
There is this notion flying around and about that going to court will be effort in futility because he has a track record of disregarding judicial pronouncements. People hoisting this notion are only trigger shy because they ought to know that getting judgments against him will be vital in the long run.
It is a known fact that his immunity will expire on 29th May 2019 or same date in 2023. After that time, he will account for most of the decision taken while in office. And punitive measures pronounced by judges will come to force.
Lest we forget, rights violations or related issues don’t die because local and international rights watchdogs have long memory like Mr. Snake and never forgive transgressions.
Where is Charles Gange Taylor today? What was the end of ultra Serbs nationalist Slobodan Milosovich? Where is the Bosnian Serb nationalist Dr. Radovan Karazdzic? These gross human rights violators are cooling their wicked heels in The Hague, today. Or have joined their ancestors in the great beyond while standing trials.
Just recently, the Chief prosecutor of international criminal court (ICC) visited Nigeria and the Shia massacre of December 2015 was top in her agenda. Is that not a sign that El-rufai and some people have started their long journeys to Hague?
Our reluctance in testing/scaling his decisions will be unkind to people that placed their lives online and paid supreme sacrifices to enthroning democracy in Nigeria. We will be letting down foreign powers that used their taxpayers monies to helping activists and pro-democracy groups that brought the end of military rule in Nigeria.
However, it is better late than never. Can we get started?
John Danfulani, Ph.D., is a university lecturer at Kaduna State University and human rights activist. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.