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El-Rufai's Newfound Love For The Rule Of Law! by Hassan Abubakar Kontagora



Former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has lately dominated the headlines, thanks to his allegations that the Senate is disrespecting court orders. Reacting to a statement attributed to Senator Obiora of the Senate committee on FCT, in which he said the courts could not stop the lawmakers from discharging their constitutional duties, the former demolition expert accused the Senate of intimidating the judiciary. Currently in court to stop the Senate from implementing its report on the FCT under his tenure, El-Rufai is challenging his indictment and the decision to ban him from holding public office for fifty years by the committee that investigated him.
Mallam Nasir expressed surprise why the lawmakers cannot obey the courts in the country by showing a determination to implement the report, which indicted him and demanded him to account for 32 billion naira that accrued from the sale of federal government houses in Abuja . Reacting through his spokesman, Alhaji Abbas Mohammed, the former FCT Minister criticized the Senate for setting a dangerous precedent.
Many Nigerians reacted with amusement and utter shock at El-Rufai¢s audacity to accuse anyone of disobeying the courts. Is the former FCT Minister suffering from perpetual amnesia or is he simply insulting the intelligence of Nigerians? While he was in office, El-Rufai had the most notorious reputation for contravening court orders, which advised him to halt the demolition of shops and houses that became the subject of litigation.
In fact, the new FCT Minister, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo inherited over five hundred court cases against the Ministry as a result of El-Rufai¢s reckless, remorseless and habitual disregard for court injunctions. Despite a court order, which was duly served on his Ministry, the former Minister of FCT went ahead to demolish the headquarters of Bullet Construction Company at Area 11, in Abuja . You can imagine the disruption and huge material and financial losses the company suffered because El-Rufai was demonically impatient to listen to reason or common sense.


He was frequently determined to have his way in this stubborn but senseless pursuit and he believed the courts should go to hell. As a student of Obasanjo¢s politics of recklessness and arrogance, El-Rufai was freely disobeying court orders, bringing anguish and tears to his victims. His zeal for duty exceeded reason, good judgement and common sense, thereby making the courts look stupid in the eyes of Nigerians. In fact, even under the military rule, Nigerian courts had not witnessed such level of arrant disrespect from top public office holders.
The death of the former chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Bashir Sambo, was the worst example of reckless use of power by El-Rufai. Justice Sambo was offered his official residence for sale, which he accepted and duly paid. He sold the house after purchasing it but he was later told by El-Rufai that the house was wrongly offered to him for purchase. According to El-Rufai, the house was not intended for sale and that it was an error offering the property to late Justice Sambo in the first place.           
El-Rufai opted to return his money after the late Justice Sambo disposed of the house. Justice Sambo headed for the court to stop the former Minister of FCT from ejecting him. Despite a court injunction, which was pasted on the property and duly served on him or his agents, El-Rufai directed his men to go ahead to eject the late Justice Sambo. His property was thrown out in broad daylight and the old man shed an ocean of tears of anguish. Rarely did Nigerians ever witness such level of humiliation and inhumanity unleashed on an elderly statesman.
Sambo¢s humiliation was too emotionally grievous to bear and the old man eventually developed a sudden heart ailment. He was flown to Cairo for medical treatment but he died. The death of Justice Sambo jolted the conscience of any Nigerian that respects human dignity. Even as he appeared before the Senate committee on FCT to explain the incident, El-Rufai had no credible defence to justify the cruel treatment meted out to the late Jusice Sambo.
If El-Rufai had listened to reason and obeyed the court order on Justice Sambo¢s property, the old man could probably have been alive today, enjoying peace with his family. But his life was cruelly terminated because of El-Rufai¢s over-zealousness and utter disrespect for court injunctions.  Why until now, is El-Rufai recognizing the importance of respecting court orders and their significance to the growth of orderly societies? Because his rights are now affected, the former FCT Minister is preaching the rule of law.
However, let him be reminded that Nigerians are no fools; they have keen memories of his misdeeds and blatant disregard for court injunctions. Does he have any moral qualification or the credibility to preach to the Senate about the rule of law, which he openly and frequently abused while he was in office? Ironically, El-Rufai is in London doing a law programme. It is like professing a religion without obeying its precepts. Nigerians are even angry why any court should entertain El-Rufai¢s petition against the Senate. Those who destroyed the temple of the rule of law have no reason to enjoy its shelter. We are extraordinarily patient in this country and that is why we are afflicted with El-Rufai and other like-minded heartless public figures. He rendered thousands homeless, jobless and hopeless through reckless disregard for court orders. Does he therefore, deserve our sympathy now that he is facing a possible ban from holding public office in the future?
Hassan Abubakar Kontagora,
No. 29, Awwal Ibrahim Road ,
Suleja, Niger State.


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