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The erosion of the rule of law and the rise of the Mafia state


The erosion of the rule of law and the rise of the Mafia state

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Dr Fatima Dada

Over the last few days, the Minister of FCT has been featured in the press defaming a company that takes their reputation very seriously. In his latest interview, Mr Wike says the International Conference Centre (ICC) is a national embarrassment and not befitting international events.

He has also informed the press that he has terminated the integrated facility management contract with IMMEDIATE effect (the company managing ICC).

If his allegations are true, this will be considered a breach of contract.
In this case, he would need to notify the breaching party of the violation in writing and allow them to correct the issue within a certain time frame.
Contract termination is a complicated procedure that needs a thorough examination of the contract terms, legal ramifications, and potential consequences.

It is appalling that a lawyer who is also a sitting minister will not follow due process. Does this mean he does not know the law, or does he just have no respect for the Nigerian judiciary?

It is with great concern that I write this article. What does this mean for a nation where contracts can be cancelled in the press? Citizens can be defamed without any repercussions? When this is done by a sitting minister who is also a lawyer, then this will be considered jungle justice, and we may as well be living in the Wild West or a mafia nation.

Strongarming a citizen in broad daylight because you are a sitting minister is not befitting of the giant of Africa. Mr. Wike is very concerned about international standards. Then, sir, please lead by example. The international nations you seek to emulate will not disrespect their judiciary in this manner.

Abuja is facing an unprecedented erosion of the rule of law. This can only be achieved if those in power are silent in the face of all that is happening. As Martin Niemoller says

First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and no one was left to speak for me.
—Martin Niemöller

Recently, the Minister and the FCT administration have been accused of demolishing buildings in Abuja without a court order. In the case of Mr Nicholas Ukachukwu, his property was demolished despite two pending valid court orders from separate courts restraining the Minister and the FCT. A blatant show of power without due process is gradually becoming the order of the day.

Since the Minister hopes to meet international standards, I would like to point out what the United Nations thinks about the rule of law.

“The rule of law is fundamental to international peace and security and political stability; to achieve economic and social progress and development; and to protect people’s rights and fundamental freedoms. It is foundational to people’s access to public services, curbing corruption, restraining the abuse of power, and to establishing the social contract between people and the state.”

I hope Mr Wike can uphold his “Attorney’s oath” and help usher a new era of safety, and security in Abuja, while upholding his social contract with the people.

Dada is a political analyst and a human right activist, she writes from Abuja, Nigeria