In a Democratic Governance the constitution of the state is said to be supreme. Following this principle, and claiming to be democratic, Nigeria declares that her "Constitution is supreme".
In chapter 1 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (with amendment) in part 1, section 1(1) it states that "The Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the federal Republic of Nigeria ".
By this chapter and section and subsection of the constitution cited above, Nigeria declares to herself and to the world that her constitution and no other , is supreme. By implication:
- That Nigeria's constitution is the only constitution that stands above all others.
- That Nigeria's constitution is the only constitution unto which all others shall answer.
- That no other law shall have rule over or above the Nigerian constitution.
- That Nigeria's constitution is the only constitution that shall serve as the basis for adjudication in all matters within the four walls of the federal Republic of Nigeria.
- That any matter or matters that can not be handled via the constitution shall be considered a ' No case' and shall thereafter be dismissed.
Throughout the Pages of the constitution there is certainly no mention of a situation or/and situations where:
- Either there was appeal from the high court to sharia , owing to the inability of the rule of law to adjudicate on the matter(s), Or
- That a matter(s) in the event of the inability of the rule of law to adjudicate, shall subsequently be subjected to other law otherwise inferior to the rule of law of the state.
It needs be said here that every other law in Nigeria including sharia is subject to control by the constitution and not the other way round.
It therefore follows :
-That applying the sharia in a matter that is within the purview of the constitution to handle is tantamount to:
(a) contradicting Section 1(1) of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria.
(b) making the rule of law inferior to sharia.
(c) lording the sharia over and above the constitution of Nigeria.
Where a judge of the high court of Nigeria insists on lording the sharia over the constitution , leaves people with no other choice but to believe that Nigeria is actually an Islamic state. Period.
In every democratic governance , the message of the supremacy of the constitution is the whole essence of the RULE OF LAW and is quite clear, viz:
- That the constitution is the rule of law of the land according to which the state would be administered.
- That the constitution of the state is what guides the court in her decisions.
- That when the court invokes an inferior law as basis for decision(s), the court by that act is adjudged to be acting ULTRA-VIRES.
- That decision reached under the circumstances shall be considered unconstitutional.
- That where the sovereign (In this case, the judge ) insists on carrying out judicial functions outside the constitution, it would be considered quod principi placuit legis habit Vigoru, which is of course rule of arbitrary power, rather than the rule according to the acceptable law-The constitution.
To that extent therefore, seeking to try Mazi Nnamdi Kanu- The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra using law other than the constitution would amount to quod principi placuit legis habit Vigoru. This is absolutely against the rule of law.
The rule of law which requires that no citizen may be punished except for legally defined crime and by no other law other than the accepted law of the entire state, primarily states:
- That every thing, including court proceedings must be done according to the constitution of the land.
- That every act or acts of any authority which affects the legal rights, liberties of any citizen must be shown to have strict legal pedigree.
-That the affected person may always resort to the court of law and that if the legal pedigree is not found to be perfectly in order, the court must invalidate the act (action) of the authority.
Unequivocally , justice Binta's plans to have Mazi Nnamdi Kanu tried via sharia does not appear to have any legal pedigree. Starting from the adoption of the constitution so far used in the federal republic of Nigeria, till the present period, there appears to be no record where an alleged crime brought before the high court of Nigeria for trial was made to be tried using an inferior law.
Any law that is not the rule of law of a state is , notwithstanding the respect accorded it by any section of the state, is in all circumstances an inferior law in that state.
To that extent therefore, sharia law in Nigeria is an inferior law likewise any other law emanating from any quarter in so far as the chapter 1, section(1) of the 1999 CFRN stands.
Consequently, insisting on applying the sharia, would mean a plain display of anti-Democratic governance and a disrespect to the very constitution that establishes the judiciary in Nigeria .
It would also goes to confirm that Nigerian judiciary is 'the king's praise singer', what the Legend Fela Anikpola Kuti called "Zombi". All that the judiciary in Nigeria does is to dance the music of her appointee. Indeed a laughable scenery.
But justice Nyako Binta , can enter her name in the Guinea Book of record, as a high court justice in Nigeria who could look into the eyes of the king and told him 'king , the supremacy of the law means that the law alone, not you , is supreme', by trying Mazi Nnamdi Kanu et all via the constitution of the land, if she really believes that there is a case against the accused, and by granting them bail as the rule of law permits , or absolutely maintain, possibly for the first time in Nigeria , the independence of the judiciary by dismissing the case entirely , especially giving the fact that democratic values in all democratic governance, which Nigeria claims to be one, implies :
- Freedom of expression and the press, (S.39 1999 CFRN with amendment )
- Right to freedom of thought, Conscience(S.38 , 1999 CFRN with amendment )
- Right to freedom of expression(S.39 1999 CFRN with amendment ).
Justice Nyako, by all standards needs to convince the world that Nigerian judiciary is not learning the law. Otherwise , how could Nigerian court convince the world not to think otherwise, when it is bent on detaining a man whom Nigeria's prosecution counsel can not in whatever circumstance prove to be guilty of the offenses leveled against him?
By the way , where the onus is on the prosecution counsel to proof beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty , and the prosecution can not so do ,it is lawful and would only be lawful to declare the accused person (and or persons) innocent, discharge and acquit him. It is either this is done and the Nigerian constitution is truly supreme or Binta goes on to try Mazi Nnamdi Kanu through Sharia and by that act attest to humanity that Nigeria is truly an Islamic state.
- LIVINGRICH EZEIKPE
Abia Media Team