A human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and a third Republic Senate President, Ameh Ebute have clashed over the nationwide speech delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari to commemorate the Independence Anniversary on Tuesday, October 1.
Both lawyers disagreed in the area where the President mentioned cyber crimes and abuse of technology through hate speech.
President Buhari, during yesterday’s broadcast had pointed out that government’s attention was increasingly being drawn on cyber crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive materials being propagated on social media.
Ebute and Ozekhome, who spoke with Sun separately shared different opinions on Buhari’s address.
Ebute said that Buhari was not in any way wrong, adding that, “There is no country that freedom is complete without limitation. There cannot be freedom without limitation in any country in the world.
“And freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of everything cannot be taken to the extreme so as to create insecurity in the country. I agree with the view.
On his party, Ozekhome, a constitution lawyer said the Supreme Court had settled the matter in the case of Dokubo-Asari and the Federal Government of Nigeria when Dokubo-Asari was accused of treason.
Ozekhome added, “Now, there is a difference between individual rights and what you call rule of law. What this government has also insisted on is that national security is superior to rule of law.
“We are saying no. Rule of law is superior and higher than national security because without the rule of law, there cannot be a nation’s stake which will now begin to talk of national security.
“Rule of law predates even the nation itself. It is the violation of rule of law in the Garden of Eden that made God to drive away Adam and Eve because they violated the laid down rules.
“So, nobody is talking of individual right. But even then, when individual right touches on national security, what do you do? You go to the court of law and you allow the person to have a fair hearing as the government did with El-Zakzaky.
“Once the court has pronounced, the government no longer has a right to say national security is higher than that individual’s right because a court of law, an arm of government, the judiciary, that has the prerogative to determine who is wrong and who is right, has already decided that in this particular case, the individual right is higher than national security.”
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